James Webb Space Telescope :
The most powerful eyes mankind has ever built have been damaged.
Researchers revealed that the multi-billion dollar eyes in the sky – the James Webb Space Telescope in late May 2022 was hit by a micrometeoroid.
This micrometeoroid impact is a worrying one compared to the previous strikes as one of the 6.5 meters-long 18 beryllium – gold segmented mirrors named ‘C3’ has been badly damaged which cannot be corrected.
This bitter news was revealed only a week after the incredible first images from the James Webb Space Telescope were released.
The team stated that the sustained damage cannot be fixed, and its effect on the throughput is yet to be assessed.
James Webb Space Telescope weighs a hefty 6.35 tonnes(14,000 pounds) which is roughly the size of a school bus, when fully spread, its sun-shield stretches to 22 meters by 12 meters (68.5 ft x 46.5 ft) that roughly equals the size of a tennis court.
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“At present, the largest source of uncertainty is long-term effects of micrometeoroid impacts that slowly degrade the primary mirror,” the team said in a report on the James Webb Telescope damage.
However, the scientists sighed with relief after the primary assessments as James Webb was still performing beyond levels that exceeded all mission requirements.
Since the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, it has sustained 6 micrometeoroid strikes. These strikes exceeded the prelaunch calculation of damage from micrometeoroids by scientists.
Webb Telescope has enough fuel to last 20 years, however, the engineers that designed the telescope agreed that the sun-shield and mirrors will eventually degrade by the impact of micrometeoroids.
The detectors could be eventually damaged by charged particles, and its innovative five-layer insulation and sun-shield will wear out from space weathering.
Until then, the most powerful eyes of earthlings will try to solve as many mysteries as possible of our Universe.