NASA finally embarked on a much-awaited process of bringing the newly launched James Webb Space Telescope into focus.
The task, due for completion by early summer will keep an eye on the sky bringing fresh knowledge about the universe.
Mission control engineers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt have begun sending initial commands to the telescope’s actuators that slowly position and fine-tune James Webb’s principal mirror.
It consists of 18 hexagonal segments of gold-plated beryllium metal; the primary mirror measures 21 feet 4 inches in diameter.
The 18 segments just unfurled lately. Now, those segments must be detached from the fasteners that hold them in place for the launch.
After all the preparations, the James Webb telescope should be ready to capture its first science images in May. These will then be processed over about another month before being finally released to the public.
James Webb is $9-billion telescope, the premier space-science observatory of the next decade.
It will view the cosmos in the infrared spectrum. James Webb is several times more powerful than the Hubble telescope.
It will enable scientists to observe objects at greater distances. Astronomers believe this will bring into view a glimpse of the cosmos never seen before.
The breakthrough piece of science is an international collaboration led by NASA in partnership with the European and Canadian space agencies.
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