Largest space telescope suffers ‘incorrigible’ damage — RT World News

A Tiny Space Rock Hit the James Webb Space Telescope Harder Than Thought

Space’s largest optical telescope suffered permanent damage when it was hit by a meteoroid in May, an inquest has found.

A tiny meteoroid hit the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) between May 22 and May 24. According to a performance report released by NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency last week, the collision « caused an incorrigible change in the overall figure » of the C3 mirror segment of the observatory.

« The effect was small at the full telescope because only a small portion of the telescope area was affected. »

Although the telescope was designed to withstand such collisions, the report states that the May strike has « exceeded pre-launch damage expectations for a single micrometeoroid. »

Currently, the greatest source of uncertainty lies in the long-term effects of micrometeoroid impacts that slowly degrade the primary mirror.

NASA said last month that while damage analysis was underway, the telescope was « still performing at a level that exceeds all mission requirements despite a marginally detectable effect in the data. »

NASA unveils the first photo of the new telescope

Launched in December, the JWST will replace the Hubble Space Telescope, which has been in operation since 1990. The first image captured by the JWST, which has longer wavelength coverage than Hubble, was unveiled last week.

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