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NASA’s new powerful space telescope gets hit by larger than expected micrometeoroid

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NASA’s new powerful space observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope, got pelted by a larger than expected micrometeoroid at the end of May, causing some detectable damage to one of the spacecraft’s 18 primary mirror segments. The impact means that the mission team will have to correct for the distortion created by the strike, but NASA says that the telescope is “still performing at a level that exceeds all mission requirements.”

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, or JWST, is the agency’s incredibly powerful next-generation space telescope, designed to look into the farthest reaches of the Universe and see back in time to the stars and galaxies that formed just after the Big Bang. It cost NASA nearly $10 billion to build and more than two decades to complete. But, on Christmas Day 2021, the telescope finally launched to space, where it underwent an extremely complex unfolding process before reaching its final destination roughly 1 million miles from Earth.

Since its launch, JWST has already been hit by at least four different micrometeoroids, according to a NASA blog post, but all of those were small and about the size of what NASA expected the observatory to encounter. A micrometeoroid is typically a small fragment of an asteroid, usually smaller than a grain of sand. The one that hit JWST in May, however, was larger than what the agency had prepared for, “likely less than .1 millimeter,” a NASA spokesperson told The Verge in an email. NASA admits that the strike, which occurred between May 23rd and May 25th, caused a dimple in the mirror and a “marginally detectable effect in the data,” which engineers are continuing to analyze.

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What’s going on?

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Click the link below for the article:

https://www.theverge.com/2022/6/8/23160209/nasa-james-webb-space-telescope-meteor-strike-impact

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