Webb telescope: high technology, transcendental value


21/02/2012

In the deep and cold space, at a distance of millions of miles from Earth, a giant telescope will scan the universe in search of the first light, which originated more than 13 billion years ago.

This spacecraft weighing 7 tons, which is being created in California, is one of the most ambitious projects in the history of the U.S. space program. Its purpose is to identify the most ancient light, which began almost immediately after the Big Bang, when matter is cooled down a bit, and began to form the first stars.

"This is actually the formation of the universe," - said astronomer Alan Dressler.

The costs of establishing Webb telescope has reached $ 8.8 billion, which is almost four times the original budget. This led to the fact that this program was almost closed last year by the U.S. Congress.

This telescope will be implemented a variety of unique solutions and revolutionary developments. Surface area will be six times greater than that of the Hubble Space Telescope, which is why it must be folded for launch. It will consist of 18 hexagonal segments coated with a thin layer of gold.

For use in extreme temperature changes in space and weight reduction, the mirror is made of a rare element called beryllium. Grinding and polishing of mirrors took seven years and demanded the creation of eight individual machines, each worth a million dollars.

The ancient world was a very long time to us by the expanding universe gradually shifted to the red (long-wavelength) side. Therefore, the Webb mirrors requires the ability to pick up very weak radiation and detect them using special sensors, the temperature of which should be very low.

To maintain this temperature, Webb equip advanced cooling system and the plastic protection from the sun, consisting of five layers.

Richard Howard, who heads the project, has expressed confidence that the budget will not increase more and the program will be executed in accordance with the new schedule.

Original: Physorg


The brightest gamma-ray burst recorded by Russian scientists
Created the most detailed computer model of the universe
Phoenix survived the Martian sandstorm
In NASA created a group for new scientific work on board the ISS
NASA tests lunar habitation in the Antarctic