James Webb Space Telescope

Foxbat

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Due to be launched today, I’d hate to be a scientist or engineer involved in this project right now. The article above describes ‘two weeks of terror’. This is the time taken to deploy the new telescope and there are 344 potential points of failure during this operation.

The best Xmas people on this project could get would be a successfull deployment but the stress must be immense right now so…to paraphrase another stressful moment in history….praise the lord and pass the valium

Fingers crossed.
 
A handy website
 
This whole thing leaves me with my mouth hanging open. I have such a hard time believing that all of these immensely complicated things will roll out without an unfixable problem is a whole lot of faith to put in humans. Faith which I suspect is ill-placed.
 
This whole thing leaves me with my mouth hanging open. I have such a hard time believing that all of these immensely complicated things will roll out without an unfixable problem is a whole lot of faith to put in humans. Faith which I suspect is ill-placed.

The more complex the tech , the more potential problems it has.
 
The images from Hubble were absolutely stunning (including my personal favourite the pillars of creation), I wait with baited breath to see what this more powerful telescope will show us.

And just in case you’ve never seen the pillars
DB1F67E6-EB3D-47BD-9379-2CE6F3D8245F.jpeg


Makes you feel so small….
 
The original spec was for the telescope to be operational for about ten years. However, the accuracy of the launch by the ESA Ariane 5 rocket was such that mid-course corrections have used much less fuel than planned.

This means that there is more fuel left than anticipated and the operational life has been extended to "significantly more than ten years".

This web page contains some interesting information regarding the implementation of the telescope.

 
Webb had some minor problems but so far everything is working and on schedule. The heat shield, one of the critical areas of concern has been deployed and the beat goes on.
 
This article gives a few examples.
 
This article gives a few examples.
Interesting. Most of the benefits consist of tech designed for astronomy that found concrete application elsewhere. I still wonder why so much money is used on launching satellites that are purely gatherers of information with little practical value to us. Bar some drastic alterations of the laws of physics, we aren't going to colonise the solar system, never mind the galaxy. So we are spending huge amounts of money learning more about a cosmos we will never personally interact with.

It's a bit like the Hadron Collider: it cost $4,4 billion to build and studies the behaviour of subatomic particles. Very much a case of theoretical knowledge with little or no practical application. As far as I know (feel free to correct me) our understanding of the building blocks of matter has long since outstripped our ability to make any technological use of that understanding. It's now purely knowledge for knowledge's sake. Does that justify spending billions of dollars? It seems odd to me.

I suspect there is more than just scientific inquiry going on here. Do we need to feel that science and technology are in a constant state of progress that will continue indefinitely? That the envelope will continue to be pushed, forever?
 
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BTW space is the perfect place for machines. If a satellite is well-designed there is virtually nothing that can compromise its functioning since its environment remains absolutely simple and constant - wear and tear is non-existent. Hence the extraordinary success of so many satellite missions where the satellite was able to operate well past its expected expiry date. If we could turn ourselves into robots then the galaxy (or at least the solar system) would be ours.
 
Bar some drastic alterations of the laws of physics, we aren't going to colonise the solar system
You are right that the laws of physics aren't going to change...

...but then they didn't change before, but this hasn't stopped us from developing technologies that utilise our ever-growing understanding of what those laws are and mean.

On the other hand, ignorance, and a lack of will to overcome our ignorance, can stop us dead in our tracks.
 
Omits said:
OK so what are the potential benefits?

Michael Faraday, when asked what use all this work on electricity was, replied: “Of what use is a newborn baby?”

And don't forget what Sir William Preece, (Chief Engineer, British Post Office, 1878) said:
"The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys."
 
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