Made of plastic sheets as thin as a human hair, the reflective hardware can bring down exposure from the Sun from “200 kilowatts of solar energy to a fraction of a watt,” keeping the Webb instruments at a constant temperature of under minus 380 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 229 degrees Celsius).
Up next for Webb, and slightly delayed from the original schedule, will be the deployment of the secondary mirror support structure and then unfolding of the primary mirror wings.
With all this Webb talk going on, a very unique photo of it surfaced online a couple of days ago, and it’s rapidly (re)-gaining traction. It shows the mirror of the Webb, still on the ground somewhere, and in it the many faces of the people who helped prep it for its trip into space.
As per the available info (hat tip Futurism), the selfie dates back to 2017, but it’s probably most relevant now, when the piece of hardware, the “world’s largest and most powerful space science telescope,” is finally getting ready to make history.
Webb will park itself at the second Lagrange point, one million miles (1.6 million km) away from our planet, and begin looking out into the Universe searching for the stars formed immediately after the Big Bang, signs of alien life, and many more exciting things.
Coolest selfie. NASA scientists post photo with James Webb telescope (via Reddit). I’m excitedly anticipating what this will reveal about the universe. pic.twitter.com/bycAJ0ndWg— Jeremy Jojola (@jeremyjojola) January 2, 2022