Jun 9, 2022
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope hit by micrometeoroid 6/08/22 Transcript
James Webb Space Telescope was hit by a micrometeoroid back in May. The micrometeoroid strike doesn’t appear to have impaired Webb’s vision significantly or left it incapable of making revolutionary observations of the universe, including capturing light emitted more than 13 billion years ago, near the dawn of time. Read the transcript here.
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Speaker 1: (00:03)
The James Webb Space Telescope was hit by a micrometeoroid, as it had a rough encounter with an extraterrestrial hazard. The micro meteoroid strike doesn’t appear to have impaired Webb’s vision significantly or left it incapable of making revolutionary observations of the universe, including capturing light admitted more than 13 billion years ago near the dawn of time. This direct hit on the telescope’s mirror caught NASA by surprise, and is still being analyzed. After initial assessments, the team found that the telescope is still exceeding mission requirements. Despite the impact that occurred between May 23rd and 25th. When meteoroids, such as this one, impact the mirror, the 18 segments can be individually adjusted.
Speaker 1: (00:43)
Engineers can cancel out a portion of the distortion by repositioning the affected segment. However, not all of the degradation can be reversed this way. So the first such adjustment has already taken place and subsequent mirror adjustments will further refine the correction. It is unknown how big the micrometeoroid is. Heidi Hammel, a planetary astronomer long involved with the telescope and who will use it to study our solar system, said the object may have been as small as a grain of sand.
Speaker 1: (01:11)
Even something so small can cause damage because the telescope orbits the sun at such high speeds, that it occasionally collides with a random particle. Despite being lonely out there in space, it’s not as empty as it seems. Heidi added that there is no loss of science at all from this event. This telescope is out there in space. We knew that there would be tiny impacts on it. We were just surprised that one hit so soon. Scientists had anticipated such an impact every five years or so, on average. If you want to learn more about the James Webb Space Telescope and stay up to date, subscribe to the channel to receive our daily updates. Thanks for watching.