Because a an issue with the mid-infrared instrument (MIRI) on the James Webb Space Telescope, the telescope’s engineering team has paused use of that instrument while it reviews the situation.
On Aug. 24, a mechanism that supports one of these modes, known as medium-resolution spectroscopy (MRS), exhibited what appears to be increased friction during setup for a science observation. This mechanism is a grating wheel that allows scientists to select between short, medium, and longer wavelengths when making observations using the MRS mode. Following preliminary health checks and investigations into the issue, an anomaly review board was convened Sept. 6 to assess the best path forward.
The Webb team has paused in scheduling observations using this particular observing mode while they continue to analyze its behavior and are currently developing strategies to resume MRS observations as soon as possible. The observatory is in good health, and MIRI’s other three observing modes – imaging, low-resolution spectroscopy, and coronagraphy – are operating normally and remain available for science observations.
I am quoting almost entirely NASA’s short announcement. The announcement is vague, confusing, and (quite typically) written to minimize the reality of the issue. I can’t figure out how MIRI’s other observing modes are available if they have paused use of a mechanism that allows them to choose modes.
Regardless, Webb is awful young to have this kind of problem.
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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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