NASA’s Shiny New Eye on the Sky

By Rebecca Horne | December 3, 2010 1:43 pm


A technician examines 6 of the 18 mirrors for the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Engineers there recently conducted cryogenic tests on the beryllium mirrors to study how well they maintain their shape at the ultralow temperatures the telescope will reach in space. This helps predict how well the telescope will image from infrared sources. All of the mirrors will undergo two series of tests lasting six weeks each in a helium-cooled vacuum chamber that hits temperatures as low as -415 degrees Fahrenheit. Tests are projected to wrap up in June, and the completed observatory–a larger successor to the Hubble Space Telescope–is scheduled for launch in 2013.

Courtesy David Higginbotham/NASA

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space, The Future
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About Rebecca Horne

Rebecca Horne (http://rebeccahornephotography.com) is an artist, multi-platform freelance writer, and award-winning photography director. She launched Visual Science for Discover.com in March 2010. She also writes about science and photography for The WallStreet Journal. You can reach her at rh@rebeccahornephotography.com.

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