Perhaps you've heard of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) or simply "The Webb" for short, but in case you haven't...
The JWST boiled down is the most technologically advanced space telescope we have ever built due to its infrared telescope that is unparalleled in light sensitivity that allows us to stare deep into the unknown for traces of the early universe and exoplanets.
The Webb will sit a substantial 1.6 million kilometres from Earth and should it fail, the world's most powerful deep space telescope will be lost forever...
The kicker with such a high-powered device is that it needs to be kept cool, so cool that even the vacuum of space is not enough.
To prevent too many harmful sun rays heating the telescope, a very specific shield is implemented to protect the telescope from our sun, moon, and even the reflective light of Earth as the JWST orbits specifically to keep these light sources behind it.
The shield is made up of a 6.5-metre beryllium mirror with gold coating divided into 18 sections that with every layer allow less and less heat to travel through, kind of like a reverse blanket.
The shield is powerful enough to block any and all rays that will warm the telescope and allowing it to remain at its operational temperature of -220 Celsius.
The difference in temperature from the hot and cold sides of The Webb will be quite extreme, calculated at about 330 degrees celsius with the shield itself heating up to 110 degrees celsius.
Very recently, NASA released a statement saying the first trials of The Webb have proven optimal and the hardware is set to withstand the harsh conditions. The sunshield was deployed with all systems proving operational in similar environmental testing.
The launch is slated for March 30th with all things going to plan, and with it we could be peering even deeper into the unknown...
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