The world’s largest and most powerful space telescope will be launched into orbit soon, and as NASA was putting the final touches on it, scientists opened its massive mirror one last time here on Earth.
The James Webb Space Telescope will not only capture stunning images in space once it is launched later this year, but it will also gather important data and explore other atmospheres to find out if there are others similar to Earth’s. But before the telescope could be cleared to embark on its important mission, NASA had to test the most crucial piece of the telescope: it’s giant mirror.
Scientists used special equipment to simulate a zero-gravity environment for the telescope and its mirror, a test that it passed with flying colors. When the mirror is deployed, it is nearly 21.5 feet. The massive mirror is actually made up of 18 smaller hexagonal mirrors. The set up will allow the telescope to observe distant galaxies and stars like never before.
So what does it look like when such a massive mirror is deployed, inspected, and tested for zero-gravity here on Earth?