NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Shattered By A Space Rock

It was found that an asteroid collision in May 2022 may have damaged the telescope more than originally thought.
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Shattered By A Space Rock
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), NASA's largest and most powerful space telescope, was severely damaged by an asteroid hit in May.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) developed the telescope in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). It is constructed of valuable technology and has one of the largest mirrors on a space telescope to study phenomena and events in space that were previously unavailable to the rest of the globe.

An asteroid collision in May 2022 may have damaged the telescope

For the telescope to achieve this goal, it must be operating for many years. Concerns have been raised about the project's long-term viability when it was found that an asteroid collision in May 2022 may have damaged the telescope more than originally thought.

According to Forbes, a group of scientists described the space telescope's performance. They cited issues that "could not be rectified." "At the moment, the main source of uncertainty is long-term consequences of micrometeoroid strikes that steadily erode the primary mirror," the researchers said about the Webb telescope's predicted lifetime.

Six micrometeorites have impacted the Webb telescope since its launch

According to the experts, while five of the meteorites caused little harm, a sixth caused considerable damage to the JWST.

The researchers claimed of the asteroid incident, "The micrometeoroid which hit section C3 in the interval 22-24 May 2022 UT caused a large uncorrectable alteration in the overall figure of that segment." However, because only a tiny percentage of the telescope area was impacted, the effect was minor at the complete telescope level."

Notably, because the damage occurred on one of the panels, it will not affect the Webb telescope's image-taking capabilities. According to the site, the engineers who created Webb are aware that its mirrors and sun-shield will unavoidably deteriorate over time due to micrometeoroid strikes.

Furthermore, scientists anticipate that charged particles will progressively destroy Webb's detectors. They predict that space weathering will destroy its sun-shield and revolutionary five-layer insulation. Webb is vulnerable to micrometeoroid hits since its mirror is exposed to space, according to the researchers.

On Christmas Day 2021, the $9.7 billion space telescope was launched. NASA presented the first of several photos of outer space acquired earlier this month.

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