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Posts Tagged ‘JWST (James Webb Space Telescope)’

James Webb Space Telescope Passes A Mission Milestone

January 27, 2014 Leave a comment

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has passed its first significant mission milestone for 2014 — a Spacecraft Critical Design Review (SCDR) that examined the telescope’s power, communications and pointing control systems.

“This is the last major element-level critical design review of the program,” said Richard Lynch, NASA Spacecraft Bus Manager for the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “What that means is all of the designs are complete for the Webb and there are no major designs left to do.”

During the SCDR, the details, designs, construction and testing plans, and the spacecraft’s operating procedures were subjected to rigorous review by an independent panel of experts. The week-long review involved extensive discussions on all aspects of the spacecraft to ensure the plans to finish construction would result in a vehicle that enables the powerful telescope and science instruments to deliver their unique and invaluable views of the universe.

“While the spacecraft that carries the science payload for Webb may not be as glamorous as the telescope, it’s the heart that enables the whole mission,” said Eric Smith, acting program director and program scientist for the Webb Telescope at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “By providing many services including telescope pointing and communication with Earth, the spacecraft is our high tech infrastructure empowering scientific discovery.”

Link To Full Story

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Looking For Life By The Light Of Dying Stars


Because it has no source of energy, a dead star — known as a white dwarf — will eventually cool down and fade away. But circumstantial evidence suggests that white dwarfs can still support habitable planets, says Prof. Dan Maoz of Tel Aviv University’s School of Physics and Astronomy.

Now Prof. Maoz and Prof. Avi Loeb, Director of Harvard University’s Institute for Theory and Computation and a Sackler Professor by Special Appointment at TAU, have shown that, using advanced technology to become available within the next decade, it should be possible to detect biomarkers surrounding these planets — including oxygen and methane — that indicate the presence of life.

Published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the researchers’ “simulated spectrum” demonstrates that the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), set to be launched by NASA in 2018, will be capable of detecting oxygen and water in the atmosphere of an Earth-like planet orbiting a white dwarf after only a few hours of observation time — much more easily than for an Earth-like planet orbiting a sun-like star.

Full Story: http://www.aftau.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=18487

Images of MIRI


Three engineers from the European Space Agency wearing blue hoods, stand by to check out the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) that recently arrived at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s clean room in Greenbelt, Md. The silver thermal blanket around the MIRI will help keep the instrument protected and dust-free. The MIRI sees light in the mid-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. MIRI has both a camera and a spectrograph that sees light in the mid-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum, with wavelengths that are longer than our eyes see.

Image: http://www.jwst.nasa.gov/images_miri18.html

James Webb Space Telescope’s Mirrors Get ‘Shrouded’


Earlier this year, NASA completed deep-freeze tests on the James Webb Space Telescope mirrors in a “shroud” at the X-ray & Cryogenic Facility (XRCF) at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

All of the Webb’s 18 main mirror segments were tested under conditions that they will experience when operating in space to verify they will work as expected. Tested in batches of six, the mirrors were transferred to the cryogenic testing chamber where they were plunged to a chilly -414 degrees Fahrenheit (-248 C).

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/features/webb-shroud.html

NASA’s Webb Telescope Completes Mirror-Coating Milestone

September 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has reached a major milestone in its development. The mirrors that will fly aboard the telescope have completed the coating process at Quantum Coating Inc. in Moorestown, N.J.

The telescope’s mirrors have been coated with a microscopically thin layer of gold, selected for its ability to properly reflect infrared light from the mirrors into the observatory’s science instruments. The coating allows the Webb telescope’s “infrared eyes” to observe extremely faint objects in infrared light. Webb’s mission is to observe the most distant objects in the universe.

“Finishing all mirror coatings on schedule is another major success story for the Webb telescope mirrors,” said Lee Feinberg, NASA Optical Telescope Element manager for the Webb telescope at the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “These coatings easily meet their specifications, ensuring even more scientific discovery potential for the Webb telescope.”

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/features/webb-mirror-coating.html