Over the weekend engineers for the James Webb Space Telescope successfully completed a course correction burn that put the telescope on route to is planned location a million miles from Earth.
They also successfully deployed the telescope’s main antenna.
Other steps completed on Webb’s first full day in space included the switch-on of temperature sensors and strain gauges on the telescope, used for monitoring Webb’s thermal and structural parameters, NASA said. The antenna release and first mid-course correction burn set the stage for the next step of Webb’s post-launch commissioning — the deployment and tensioning of the observatory’s tennis court-sized sunshield.
These next steps are likely the most risky part of the telescope’s deployment, as it involves the most moving parts and is the most complex. While similar such unfoldings have been done successfully many times before, they have also been the very prone to failure.
The sunshield must work however for Webb to operate. As an infrared telescope, it essentially detects heat, and if it is not well shielded from sunlight its images will be fogged.
The deployment is presently set to begin tomorrow.
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From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space
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