Dr. Eric Smith, James Webb Space Telescope Deputy Program Director, is speaking about the telescope. Credit: UK Space Agency.

When planets move in front of their sun, they cause a certain light signature.  Credit: NASA.

This is a graphical image of an exoplanet that NASA discovered.  This exoplanet orbits two stars instead of one.  Credit: NASA.

Look at the scientists in the picture for a feel of the size of the telescope.  Credit: NASA.

NASA Ambassador Marty McGuire held two blocks that were both the same size.  One was aluminum and the other was the material the Webb Telescope is made of, and Marty says the Webb material was much lighter.   Credit: Marty McGuire.

One year from this very moment, you’ll be hearing a lot about the launch of a new NASA telescope.

The James Webb telescope has the power to find a planet just like Earth and the potential to explain how the Earth formed. 

NASA Scientist and Reading native Dr. Eric Smith says the telescope will let us see near-Earth objects with a sharpness and clarity we’ve never seen before, and we’ll see farther into space than we’ve able be able to see before.

Dr. Eric Smith, James Webb Space Telescope Deputy Program Director, is speaking about the telescope. Credit: UK Space Agency.

Eric’s excited that the James Webb Telescope will discover planets outside of our solar system: “It will find one that’s probably habitable, in that it has an atmosphere like Earth, and at some point in the not too distant future, you’ll be able to walk out and look up at the night sky and say you see that star over there? It has a planet we could live on.”

Eric says he and his colleagues will be doing a little bit of meteorology on exoplanets by finding out what’s in their atmospheres.

When a planet is outside of our solar system, it’s called an exoplanet.  These are planets orbit their own sun.

This is a graphical image of an exoplanet that NASA discovered.  This exoplanet orbits two stars instead of one.  Credit: NASA.

But, the light from a exoplanet’s sun is the is the key for unlocking what’s in that planet’s air. 

Then, they’ll wait for the planet to move between the James Webb Telescope and its sun. 

When the planet moves in front of the telescope and blocks out sunlight, scientists will know what air it has. That’s because air affects how light travels.

“By seeing where the light is subtracted, as it goes through [that planet’s] atmosphere, we’ll be able to tell what the atmosphere is made of.  We’ll look for things like water and carbon dioxide [in the sunlight data]” says Eric.

When planets move in front of their sun, they cause a certain light signature.  Credit: NASA.

And the telescope won’t just find planets, it’ll also find ‘a galaxy far, far away’ to quote Star Wars.  A galaxy that has solar systems forming.

So, if scientists watch planets like Earth form and watch galaxies like our Milky Way Galaxy form, they’ll unlock how Earth formed.

This telescope has the power to re-write our understanding of space because, as Eric puts it: “the telescope will let us watch the universe turn the lights on.”

The James Webb Space Telescope has 18 gold mirrors.  The outer rows of the mirrors fold back so that the telescope can fit in a rocket.

Look at the scientists in the picture for a feel of the size of the telescope.  Credit: NASA.

It turns out gold is really good at reflecting light energy, which is why it was selected. Telescopes reflect and focus light to a receiver.

Think of the receiver as a human eye and the telescope as a magnifying glass, but instead of using that magnifying glass up close, it’s used to magnify objects far, far away.

If you were to melt all the gold on the telescope down, it’d be the size of a golf ball.

Looking forward to @NASAWebb‘s launch about 1 year from now on Oct. 31, 2021!Seeing its gold mirrors at @NASAGoddard was quite a sight during my visit on Mar. 27, 2017. Here it was in the High Bay Cleanroom, the largest in the world with 1.3 million cubic feet of space. pic.twitter.com/s0dcxzxTfH

The material they invented is as strong as metal, but unlike metal it’s super light.  If you held a soda can made out of this material, it’d be much lighter than the aluminum soda can. 

NASA Ambassador Marty McGuire held two blocks that were both the same size.  One was aluminum and the other was the material the Webb Telescope is made of, and Marty says the Webb material was much lighter.   Credit: Marty McGuire.

Direct sunlight will warm the material up to as much as 230 degrees.  Without sunlight, the material could cool to -400 degrees.

Metal contracts when it encounters cold air, so scientists invented a material that will keep its same shape in extreme cold.

If sunlight from our sun is blocking the vision of the telescope, it won’t be able to detect planets with air similar to Earth or see a solar system forming.

So, the James Webb Telescopes has 5 parasols to block out sunlight.  They’re blocking out light from our sun.  

This material is similar to tinfoil, but it retains its shape better and is the thickness of a plastic bag.

This flexible material will fold up so that the telescope fits on the rocket launching it.  When it’s in space, it’ll unfold very precisely. 

The James Webb Telescope is scheduled to launch on Halloween 2021 from South America. To get there, NASA will pack it up, put it on a cargo ship, and send it down the Panama Canal.

NASA is launching from South America because the telescope has been a global effort.  The main global partners working on the telescope are Europe, Canada, and the United States.

This is France’s spaceport.  France’s relationship to French Guiana is similar to the United States’ relationship to a territory like Guam or Puerto Rico.  However, French Guiana is more like a “state” to France.

The James Webb telescope has the power to find a planet just like Earth and the potential to explain how the Earth formed.

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Source: https://www.wfmz.com/nasa-says-new-technology-will-change-your-understanding-of-space/article_37190044-16cc-11eb-aee1-4b145a1c0a0d.html

Asteroid, Earth, Astronomy, NASA

World news – CA – NASA says new technology will change your understanding of space

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Georges MOMO
Georges MOMO est Ingénieur informatique ( Diplôme obtenu à 3IL Limoges France) Il début sa carrière par un stage de fin d'étude d'ingénieur à Toulouse sur un projet de AIRBUS Toulouse Blagnac, il enchaîne ensuite à Nantes où il travaille sur le projet de la migration documentaire de la BPCE. Son ambition le conduit ensuite à Paris où il travaille sur deux projets de la banque de France (Validation des titres de bourse émis sur le marché européen et la génération centralisée des documents) qu'il quitte quelques années plus tard occupant le poste de responsable technique. Passionné de l'information, il est actif sur le web et sur le terrain depuis les années 2000.

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