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James Webb’s observation mode failed – Interstars

A James Webb Telescope instrument shines a technical defect have. According to NASA, this means the telescope cannot use an observe mode.

Space Telescope Global Support 17 viewing modes available, all capable of detecting different wavelengths of radiation. In a mechanism of Mid-infrared instruments (Mid-Infrared Instrument, MIRI), however, according to NASA, it appeared August 24 to a technical problem.

“Increased friction” with trellis wheel

In a broadcast, the space agency speaks of “increased friction”. grid wheela kind of cogwheel that allows researchers to switch between short, medium and long wavelengths in their observations.

The MIRI has a total 4 viewing modes, but due to the defect, “medium resolution spectroscopy” is no longer possible at this time. However, NASA points out that the rest of the telescope works as expected. work. Strategies are already underway to restore functionality as soon as possible.

Coolest instrument in the James Webb Telescope

MIRI is one of the main instruments of the James Webb Telescope. It can find distant objects in the middle infrared range Look. These wavelengths have the advantage of also being clouds of dust can enter the universe. This makes stars and galaxies visible that cannot be seen with optical telescopes. But also interstellar gas clouds can be observed in unprecedented detail using MIRI.

The MIRI being assembled on Earth.

At the same time, MIRI is the telescope’s coldest instrument. Passive cooling of -233 degrees Celsius cold environment is not enough for the device to work. It must be active on -267 degrees cooled – and is therefore only about 6 degrees warmer than absolute zero point.

Mission largely without problems

The James Webb Telescope mission has so far proceeded without major complications. The impact of one caused a brief setback micrometeorites in the telescope’s primary mirror at the end of May. Although this did not affect the telescope’s operation, NASA said the damage was greater than expected. still 20 years Webb should stay in space and send images of the universe to earth.