NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has been slightly damaged by a micrometeoroid strike, which is the fifth on record since its launch, as the impact from this one was greater than its operators had anticipated. Engineers are currently working on adjusting the instrument to make up for the unexpected early damage.
The team said that since Webb’s mirrors are exposed to space, they expected occasional micrometeoroid impacts that would gracefully degrade telescope performance over time. To date, it has experienced four previous smaller measurable micrometeoroid strikes that were consistent with expectations. Just for the record, Hubble can still capture amazing images, like this Einstein Ring.
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We will use this flight data to update our analysis of performance over time and also develop operational approaches to assure we maximize the imaging performance of Webb to the best extent possible for many years to come,” said Lee Feinberg, James Webb optical telescope element manager at NASA Goddard.