The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) posted this video on June 7, 2016 at YouTube. It’s a time-lapse showing some two dozen engineers and technicians in a clean room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, hard at work installing the package of science instruments on the telescope. Fun, huh? JWST said:
These science instruments are known as the Integrated Science Instrument Module … and it’s the collection of cameras, spectrographs and fine guidance systems that help record the light collected by Webb’s giant golden mirror.
Did we say golden mirror? Yes. Webb’s mirrors are coated with gold to optimize them for infrared light. Read more about why the mirror is gold-covered at this FAQ page from NASA. Also, check out the photo below of the telescope a couple of month ago, also sitting in a clean room at Goddard.
This new space telescope is expected to revolutionize our view of the cosmos, much as its predecessor the Hubble Space Telescope did. The primary mirror on the Webb Telescope is some 2.7 times larger in diameter than the Hubble mirror, or about 6 times larger in area. So it can gather more light and thus see fainter (more distant) objects better. Webb will have infrared instruments with longer wavelength coverage and greatly improved sensitivity. And it’ll operate much farther from Earth than Hubble does, which will help it operate more efficiently. It’s scheduled for launch in 2018.
Bottom line: Video time-lapse of engineers and technicians installing the James Webb Space Telescope’s instrument package.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.