The James Webb telescope, a sensational masterpiece ever built by NASA, with a value of $10 billion, has recently been hit by a meteoroid in an unfortunate incident. The meteoroid struck one of the main components of the telescope’s mirror, and as per the officials, the effect of this strike is greater than expected. Engineers have already designed this telescope in such a way that it can easily endure the impact of any meteoroid hit, but this time this rock fragment is a bit larger than anticipated by the engineers.
But the good news is that it is not going to affect the performance parameters of the telescope. However, there is a little bit of a conspicuous impact on the data. According to NASA, the telescope’s functional capabilities are still incredible, and all the requirements of the mission are being fulfilled. However, due to this impactful meteor hit, the authorities are now considering that the life of the James Webb Telescope might be shorter than estimated.
At a conference, Paul Geithner, technical deputy project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said, “We always knew that Webb would have to weather the space environment, which includes harsh ultraviolet light and charged particles from the Sun, cosmic rays from exotic sources in the galaxy, and occasional strikes by micrometeoroids within our solar system.”
However, a lot can be done to mitigate the adverse effects of such meteors in the future. What engineers can do is change the orientation of the affected mirrors to counterbalance the impact of the hit. Moreover, they can integrate and execute such navigating moves for the telescope to avoid the incoming dust-sized particles. To that end, we are all well aware of the hazards of space, and when it comes to technology that has been incorporated into space by humans, we need to be extra careful because a significant amount of investment is involved.
Emergencies are everywhere, we just need to know how to execute contingency planning to cope with such situations. This is the fifth time that the telescope has been hit by a meteor. According to NASA, “Since launch, we have had four smaller measurable micrometeoroid strikes that were consistent with expectations, and this one more recently that is larger than our degradation predictions assumed.”