It turns out that a meteorite collided with the James Webb Space Telescope, causing 'irreparable damage'


NASA's James Webb Space Telescope

Launched by NASA in December 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope is a state-of-the-art ultra-high performance space telescope that succeeds the Hubble Space Telescope launched in 1990. It was known that a micrometeorite had collided with the James Webb Space Telescope in late May 2022, and it was newly reported that this impact caused 'irreparable damage'.

Science Performance release notes DRAFT --2207.05632.pdf
(PDF file)

JWST picture shows noticeable damage from micrometeoroid strike | Space

NASA shares first images of meteor damage on James Webb Space Telescope | Live Science

The James Webb Space Telescope is a space telescope made at a cost of 10 billion dollars (about 1.3 trillion yen), and it is possible to observe deep space astronomical objects that could not be observed with conventional telescopes. The telescope alignment was completed in May 2022, and several photographs taken by the James Webb Space Telescope werereleased in July.

A large number of photos of the deep space taken by James Webb Space Telescope have been released, and finally the photos of the 5 celestial bodies of the initial event are available --GIGAZINE

However, it is also known that the James Webb Space Telescope was hit by a micrometeorite floating in space in late May, shortly after the alignment was completed. Since the James Webb Space Telescope is deployed at the Lagrange point about 1.5 million km away from the earth, there is a higher risk of meteorite collision than artificial satellites near the earth. In fact, it seems that micrometeoroid impacts occur once a month for 6 months after the launch.

Micrometeoroid collides with 'James Webb Space Telescope' which has just been put into operation with more than 1 trillion yen invested --GIGAZINE

NASA released a report on the performance of the James Webb Space Telescope on July 12. Among them, one of the 18 beryllium primary mirrors coated with ultra-thin gold plating suffered 'irreparable damage' due to the impact of micrometeorites that occurred from May 23 to 25. It has been reported that

The golden panel in the photo below is the primary mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope. Each mirror segment weighs about 20 kg, and after launch, it was deployed at an accurate position by a high-sensitivity micromotor and wavefront sensor.


NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

This is a newly released figure showing the damaged part of the primary mirror. NASA reports that the mirror called 'C3' in the lower right of the image has a significant electromagnetic phase error ( wavefront error ) that causes uncorrectable changes in the numbers across the segment.

However, this time it was only a part of the primary mirror, and the performance was maintained by adjusting 17 mirrors that have not been scratched yet, and it still exceeds the expected value before launch. And that. Engineers are in the process of modeling how often events like micrometeoroid impacts on C3 occur, saying, 'It's still unclear if the May 2022 impact on C3 was a rare event. It's not clear, 'NASA wrote.

If the James Webb Space Telescope is found to be more susceptible to micrometeoroids than previously expected, take measures such as reducing the time it takes to orbit the micrometeoroid in a statistically high velocity and energy direction. NASA says it could take it.

in Hardware,   Science, Posted by log1h_ik