Since its launch, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has produced some of the most awe-inspiring photographs in the history of deep space photography; however, even the most modest contemporary laptop may outperform it in terms of storage.
According to IEEE Spectrum, the James Webb Space Telescope has an SSD with only 68 GB capacity, which trumps even the Hubble telescope’s modest 2GB. Still, it’s almost nothing compared to what’s on sale for consumers currently.
To put it into perspective, the PS5’s 825 GB SSD has just roughly 670 GB of usable capacity, which is insufficient to store even the operating system of a modern game console.
The James Webb Space Telescope cost $10 billion, and you’d think NASA could have afforded a larger storage system. But it’s essential to understand that comparing technology that operates in space orbit to anything that functions on Earth is nearly impossible. Moreover, there were special considerations because the satellite was in the vast universe.
So to start with, SSDs can be more delicate and prone to breakage than conventional spinning hard disc drives in general, even when not subjected to the harshness of space, and those handling them should avoid zapping them with electricity. However, the JWST is located a million miles from Earth and must operate in temperatures as low as -370 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, the SSD utilised in the telescope has completed a rigorous certification process and is radiation-resistant.
In terms of data transfer speeds, the telescope outperforms its Hubble forerunner. The JWST sends data back to Earth at fast to 28 megabits per second on a 25.9-gigahertz channel and can capture 57 GB of data per day, compared to Hubble’s 1-2 GB per day. JWST data takes roughly 4.5 hours to reach Earth.
Therefore, the capacity of the telescope’s SSD isn’t that important because it can beam the data back during two four-hour contact periods each day, requiring only a day’s worth of storage aboard. However, NASA expects that just 60 GB of storage will be accessible in ten years, and 3% must be set up for engineering and operational data.
Don’t worry; those NASA scientists are pretty competent. JWST will survive for as long as its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, which is still in use after 32 years if all goes according to plan.