NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope in trouble! | Tech News

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope in trouble!

NASA’s $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope is experiencing issues with its MIRI instrument. Here’s what NASA said.

| Updated on: Sep 22 2022, 19:43 IST
NASA reveals stunning Jupiter images captured by James Webb Space Telescope
James Webb Space Telescope
1/6 Amazingly, currently, on Jupiter, there are auroras, storms, extreme temperatures and powerful winds stirring things up, according to NASA. The images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope could give scientists a look at the conditions of the gas giant. (NASA)
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2/6 Planetary astronomer Imke de Pater, professor emerita of the University of California, Berkeley said, “We hadn’t really expected it to be this good, to be honest. It’s really remarkable that we can see details on Jupiter together with its rings, tiny satellites, and even galaxies in one image.” (NASA)
James Webb Space Telescope
3/6 The images were captured by the telescope's Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument on July 27, which highlighted the planet's unique features. According to NASA, the NIRCam has three specialized infrared filters that showcase details of the planet. (AFP)
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4/6 The image was created by compositing several images. Auroras are visible near the Northern and Southern poles of the planet. According to NASA, the auroras shine in a filter that is mapped to redder colors, which also highlights light reflected from lower clouds and upper hazes. (NASA)
James Webb Space Telescope
5/6 The Great Red Spot as well as other clouds can be visible in the images as white since it is reflecting the sunlight. The Great Red Spot is a giant vortex which has been swirling around on Jupiter’s surface for a long time. Jupiter’s 2 moons, Amalthea and Adrastea can also be seen “photo-bombing” the planet. (REUTERS)
James Webb Space Telescope
6/6 Thierry Fouchet, a professor at the Paris Observatory, as part of an international collaboration for Webb’s Early Release Science program said, “This one image sums up the science of our Jupiter system program, which studies the dynamics and chemistry of Jupiter itself, its rings, and its satellite system.” (NASA/AFP)
James Webb Space Telescope
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The James Webb Space Telescope is NASA’s $10 billion replacement of the ageing Hubble Space Telescope. (AP)

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has provided us with numerous stunning images despite a short duration of service. The space telescope was launched on December 25 last year. Although the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has been in service for only 2 months, the telescope has produced stunning images of various celestial objects such as a Tarantula Nebula, globular star cluster, Neptune's rings and more, the telescope has now run into trouble.

According to NASA, the Mid-Infrared Instrument aboard the JWST is not functioning optimally due to an issue with one of its four observing modes. NASA said in a blog, “On Aug. 24, a mechanism that supports one of these modes, known as medium-resolution spectroscopy (MRS), exhibited what appears to be increased friction during setup for a science observation.”

“This mechanism is a grating wheel that allows scientists to select between short, medium, and longer wavelengths when making observations using the MRS mode. Following preliminary health checks and investigations into the issue, an anomaly review board was convened Sept. 6 to assess the best path forward,” the space agency added.

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Previous troubles

This is not the first time that the $10 billion space telescope has encountered issues during operation. In June, the telescope was hit by a meteoroid which caused some damage to one of the telescope's 18 mirror fragments which required correction by NASA to compensate for the damage. Despite not functioning optimally, the space telescope captured a stunning first image of Neptune yesterday with the help of its NIRCam instrument.

What is the James Webb Space Telescope?

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is NASA's brand-new space telescope that's meant to be a successor to the ageing Hubble Space Telescope which has been in service for more than 3 decades.

Costing nearly $10 billion, JWST took NASA almost two decades to build and is designed to capture the farthest corners of the universe searching into the unknown.

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First Published Date: 22 Sep, 19:43 IST