A major milestone has been reached in the project to launch what will be the world’s premiere space observatory- the Webb Space Telescope– later this month.  Once in orbit, 1,000,000 miles above Earth, the telescope will undergo six months of commissioning.  This set-up includes the unfolding of mirrors, the sunshield, and other smaller systems; cooling down to operating temperatures near absolute zero; and alignment/calibration of instrumentation.  By the way, absolute zero is negative 459 degrees Fahrenheit!

Webb is the largest and most powerful telescope ever developed by NASA.  It will complement other telescopes used by NASA, including Hubble, and develop revolutionary technology to study every phase of cosmic history.

This is more than just stargazing, though.

The NASA-led project to develop Webb deployed the efforts of thousands of engineers and hundreds of scientists and technicians from 14 countries and 29 states, who work in government, academia, and the private sector, and who spent 40-million hours to design, build and test the telescope.  The development work created new technological advances like breakthrough lightweight deployable mirrors and advanced composite structures that align to millionths of millimeters and work at super-cold temperatures; large, ultra-sensitive infrared light detectors; a “microshutter” device with thousands of tiny windows, each the width of a human hair and programmable to be open or closed, to enable spectroscopic measurement of hundreds of individual objects simultaneously; and a cryocooler that chills the mid-infrared detectors to the necessary temperature of only a handful of degrees above absolute zero.  The instrumentation will beam back a treasure trove of stunning pictures of the universe.

Webb technology has already benefited life on Earth, an example being Webb technology adapted to create high-definition maps of patients eyes for improved surgical precision in LASIK surgery.

Attached below is a link to the Webb Space Telescope Blog and the Countdown to Launch (Dec 22nd)

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

~ Brian Kasal- The Leadership Matrix

Click here (NASA blog)- NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Fully Fueled for Launch

Click here (Countdown)- Webb Space Telescope Countdown

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