The James Webb Space Telescope is finally ready to launch

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Recently, some astronomers and astrophysicists believe that NASA should rename its new flagship observatory.In a review article in March Scientific american, Four scientists argued that in the 1960s, its namesake knew, if not complicit, the “Lavender Panic” policy within the federal government, including NASA. Similar to the anti-communist “red panic”, these policies force many LGBTQ workers to leave their jobs in federal agencies.

These authors and more than 1,700 others are online petition After this review article was published, it circulated, calling for the telescope to be renamed. Their opposition prompted NASA to conduct an internal investigation in June. The agency did not announce the results of the investigation, but on September 27, the current NASA Director Bill Nelson sent a brief statement to some people. information Outlets: “We have not found any evidence to prove the need to change the name of the James Webb Space Telescope.”

Sarah Tuttle, an astronomer at the University of Washington and one of the columnists, said: “I think NASA could have done better with their commitment to transparency.” “I certainly hope that NASA will consider it in the future. We actually build a community process when we name and launch more exciting large flagship missions.” She and other space scientists regretted James Webb’s name because it regrettably distracted the science that the telescope will achieve ; They proposed alternatives, such as the Harriet Tubman Space Telescope and Just a wonderful space telescope.

“Our focus should be on the tremendous power of this amazing facility, and people have spent their entire careers building this facility. It is not good for any participant to let it fall into controversy,” the University of Texas at Austin Caitlin Casey, the astronomer of China, said that she is the co-leader of the COSMOS-Web collaboration. The team changed the name of their own research project from COSMOS-Webb to Kathy now only uses its acronym to refer to the telescope.

now, The telescope finally arrived, and everyone excitedly-and nervously-focused on its launch. Minor issues involving the tools to connect the telescope to the top of the rocket and communication issues between the observatory and the launch vehicle system delayed the launch originally scheduled for December 18.

Assuming the launch goes according to plan, astronomers will have to wait about six months until the biggest Christmas gift of space science opens and begins to witness new cosmic miracles. Mather said that first, NASA engineers and their international colleagues must follow an hourly, step-by-step process to deploy the telescope, move it into place, cool down and inspect every part of every instrument. He predicts that scientific observations will begin in early summer.

Hubble needs to fly in low-Earth orbit Frequent maintenance For many years, it has been easy for astronauts hardware problemFor JWST, space cannot be repaired because it is too far away. Since no one can use a screwdriver to access JWST, engineers have to hope that all their testing and backup systems will be sufficient. They also developed methods to adjust the telescope remotely when needed. For example, scientists on the ground can precisely align the mirrors of a telescope, each of which is connected to seven mechanical motors.

Astronomers believe that JWST is not only beneficial to science, but also helps convey this knowledge to people who are curious about the distant world, the life of stars, and the origin of the universe. “I think these images will be as iconic and transformative as the Hubble images, and even more,” Casey said. “I will be very excited to see them, and I think the public will really be fascinated by them.”


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