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Saturday, April 1, 2023

CLEAR AF! NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s Images Are Way Better Than Expected

ScienceCLEAR AF! NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope's Images Are Way Better Than Expected

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has completed its alignment phase, and it wasted no time demonstrating that it is capable of capturing “crisp, well-focused images” with all four of its science instruments.

“The optical performance of the telescope continues to be better than the engineering team’s most optimistic predictions,” NASA officials said.

If everything continues to go according to plan and its instrument calibration phase is accomplished without a hitch, the James Webb Space Telescope could be ready to capture and share its initial findings of the cosmos as early as 2022.

In a statement, Scott Acton, Webb wavefront sensing and controls scientist, stated that the new telescope’s first images “profoundly changed the way I see the universe.” That’s one hell of an accomplishment and definitely well worth the cost of the project.

It took a long time to build the James Webb Space Telescope. By the time it was launched using an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket on Christmas Day 2021, the project had been about 7-14 years behind schedule. Overall, the JWST project took about 18 years and roughly $10 billion to design, develop, and build.

Despite its delays and its huge cost, the JSWT did not waste any time as soon as it reached space. The telescope had to rocket to deep space, which took about a month, then it had to complete a seven-step alignment process, which was extremely tricky since the JWST used 18 hexagonal mirrors that needed to be aligned within nanometers of each other.

The JSWT is one of those projects that prove that America is still a leading force in the space exploration sector. Now all there is to do is hope that it can start ending those clear AF images back home soon.


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