NASA’s James Webb Telescope Damaged After Being Hit By Space Rock

NASA's James Webb Telescope
NASA's James Webb Telescope

NASA’s James Webb Telescope: The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the world’s largest and most powerful space telescope by NASA, has been heavily damaged by an asteroid strike in May.

The telescope was built by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). It is made of precious technology and is one of the largest mirrors on a space telescope to observe events and phenomena in space that were previously inaccessible to the world.

James Webb Telescope Damaged After Being Hit By Space Rock

In order for the telescope to fulfill this ambition, it is necessary that JWST remains operational for years to come. However, concerns are now being raised over the project’s longevity after it was revealed that an asteroid strike in May 2022 would have left the telescope in a worse shape than it was before.

According to Forbes, a group of scientists outlined the performance of the space telescope. He reported problems that “cannot be fixed”. Writing about the estimated lifetime of the Webb telescope, the researchers said, “Currently, the greatest source of uncertainty is the long-term effects of micrometeoroid impacts that gradually degrade the primary mirror.”

Scientists said that the Webb telescope has hit six micrometers since its launch. While five meteorites caused a negligible amount of damage, the sixth caused some damage to JWST.

NASA’s James Webb Telescope

Providing more details about the asteroid strike, the researchers said, “The micrometer that hit segment C3 in the period 22-24 May 2022 caused a significant irreversible change in the overall figure for that segment. However, at the full telescope level The effect was small because only a small part of the binocular field was affected.”

Notably, since the damage occurred on one panel, it would not affect the Webb telescope’s ability to take an image at all. However, according to the outlet, the engineers who designed the Webb know that its mirrors and sun-shield will inevitably shrink slowly from micrometeoroid impacts.

In addition, the scientists also expect Webb’s detectors to be gradually damaged by charged particles. They believe its sun-shield and innovative five-layer insulation will degrade space weathering. Since its mirror is exposed to space, the researchers also said that it is difficult for Webb to survive micrometeoroid attacks.

The $9.7 billion space telescope was launched on Christmas Day in 2021. Earlier this month, NASA revealed the first of many images it captured of deep space.