Tech

James Webb already flies into history

As we already reminded you yesterday, today was a key day for James Webb, the space telescope in which, for years, the Canadian, American and European space agencies have worked. A few minutes after one o’clock in the afternoon in mainland Spain, which was still remembering last night’s dinner or was already preparing Christmas lunch (some may even have both simultaneously), when the countdown and the The sky of French Guiana became an exceptional spectator, once again, of the power and reliability of the Arianne 5.

The interest in the launch of the James Webb has been easily perceived When checking, both on YouTube and Twitch, the enormous number of channels that have followed it live and, although practically all have had the signal from NASA channels in common, each medium and disseminator has contributed their approach staff about the event, so it was very interesting to jump from one to the other to have a broader perspective not only of the launch, but also of the mission.

In my case, I have alternated mainly between two sources, the NASA channel in Spanish and the one from the Mission Control disseminator, which in turn was using the NASA signal in Spanish, but which has combined the mission information and its usual enthusiasm for space exploration, with quite a sense of humor and the nerves to carry out his first live show. Personally, I think he has done very well, from here my congratulations, it has been a transmission as brilliant as the launch of the James Webb.

There was a lot at stake in this release. As we remembered yesterday, this is a project that, since its launch, has already been 25 years old, a period in which delays have been added (very early on, its launch was scheduled for 2007) and cost overruns that have almost multiplied by 20 the 500 million that Daniel Goldin, director of NASA at that time, said that would be the cost of the project. Finally, we can round up your costs to 10 billion dollars, which, even so, they are still an excellent investment.

Although the launch has been a success, there are still many steps to take until the James Webb is operational. The first thing, of course, is a journey of 1,500,000 kilometers, which will take you to the Lagrangian point Ltwo, where the telescope will begin to describe a halo orbit. But the trip is only part of the preparations. For its launch, it was necessary that the James Webb could be housed in the cargo module of the Arianne 5, so there are parts of it folded (such as the primary mirror), whichto be deployed with the telescope already in space.

So that, we will still have to wait about six months until full travel and deployment are complete so that we can begin to look at the universe in another way, and have new data to help us better understand the origin of the universe. The James Webb’s measuring instruments, added to the enormous size of its primary, will be able to explore the infrared spectrum with a precision never seen before, so signals that have been crossing space for an eternity can be captured, perhaps with many secrets. about when they originated.

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