UPDATED – Something to Do Christmas Morning

This is cool: NASA’s $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope is set to launch into space on Christmas Day!

You can watch the launch live via NASA TV starting at 6AM ET!

UPDATE: The JWST successfully deployed

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope soared from French Guiana on South America’s northeastern coast, riding a European Ariane rocket into the Christmas morning sky.

The $10 billion observatory hurtled toward its destination 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) away, or more than four times beyond the moon. It will take a month to get there and another five months before its infrared eyes are ready to start scanning the cosmos.

First, the telescope’s enormous mirror and sunshield need to unfurl; they were folded origami-style to fit into the rocket’s nose cone. Otherwise, the observatory won’t be able to peer back in time 13.7 billion years as anticipated, within a mere 100 million years of the universe-forming Big Bang.

The origami-style unfolding is a nail-biter:

Protecting the observatory is a wispy, five-layered sunshield, vital for keeping the light-gathering mirror and heat-sensing infrared detectors at subzero temperatures. At 70 feet by 46 feet (21 meters by 14 meters), it’s the size of a tennis court.

If all goes well, the sunshield will be opened three days after liftoff, taking at least five days to unfold and lock into place. Next, the mirror segments should open up like the leaves of a drop-leaf table, 12 days or so into the flight.

In all, hundreds of release mechanisms need to work — perfectly — in order for the telescope to succeed. “Like nothing we’ve done before,” said NASA program director Greg Robinson.

UPDATE 2 – The Mission Trailer

This is so cool, a Christmas present for Science/Space Nerds.

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6 Responses to UPDATED – Something to Do Christmas Morning

  1. purplehead says:

    3:00 AM real time… ooph. Not sure I can be awake for that. I’d rather see the pictures it produces, anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Crossing all the toes and fingers….the main camera was built here:

    http://ircamera.as.arizona.edu/nircam/

    There will be a lot of breath holding come tomorrow morning!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jimmy T says:

    Space telescope huh? I may have been the original space cadet back in my hippy daze, but at long last I found something even spacier…

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Sirius Lunacy says:

    Lucky me, I have to work today. But at least I’m wearing the right mask.
    https://www.redbubble.com/i/mask/NASA-Just-Give-Me-Some-Space-by-FOGODesigns/73278812.6BSL1

    Like

  5. The unfolding of the JWST from crumpled spitball on the launchpad into a functioning telescope in orbit around the Sun is a TRUE Xmas miracle!

    Like

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