NASA’s $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope is experiencing issues with its MIRI instrument. Here’s what NASA said.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has provided us with numerous stunning images despite a short duration of service. The space telescope was launched on December 25 last year. Although the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has been in service for only 2 months, the telescope has produced stunning images of various celestial objects such as a Tarantula Nebula, globular star cluster, Neptune’s rings and more, the telescope has now run into trouble.
According to NASA, the Mid-Infrared Instrument aboard the JWST is not functioning optimally due to an issue with one of its four observing modes. NASA said in a blog, “On Aug. 24, a mechanism that supports one of these modes, known as medium-resolution spectroscopy (MRS), exhibited what appears to be increased friction during setup for a science observation.”
“This mechanism is a grating wheel that allows scientists to select between short, medium, and longer wavelengths when making observations using the MRS mode. Following preliminary health checks and investigations into the issue, an anomaly review board was convened Sept. 6 to assess the best path forward,” the space agency added.
This is not the first time that the $10 billion space telescope has encountered issues during operation. In June, the telescope was hit by a meteoroid which caused some damage to one of the telescope’s 18 mirror fragments which required correction by NASA to compensate for the damage. Despite not functioning optimally, the space telescope captured a stunning first image of Neptune yesterday with the help of its NIRCam instrument.
What is the James Webb Space Telescope?
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is NASA’s brand-new space telescope that’s meant to be a successor to the ageing Hubble Space Telescope which has been in service for more than 3 decades.
Costing nearly $10 billion, JWST took NASA almost two decades to build and is designed to capture the farthest corners of the universe searching into the unknown.