HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The world’s most powerful telescope sustained an impact to one of its primary mirrors after being struck by a micrometeoroid.
NASA announced that the James Webb Space Telescope sustained a micrometeoroid impact at some point between May 23 and May 25.
Initial assessments showed a “marginally detectable effect in the data” as a result of the impact. Despite that, NASA is confident in the telescopes’ abilities.
“The team found that the telescope is still performing at a level that exceeds all mission requirements,” NASA stated in the post.
NASA states that meteoroids are fragments of asteroids, and can vary in size from very large, to very small. Micrometeoroids are particles that are smaller than a grain of sand.
The telescope, which sits at an observation post 1 million miles away from Earth, was constructed with the anticipation that it would be struck by micrometeoroids and have to endure the other harsh elements of the space environment.
“We always knew that Webb would have to weather the space environment, which includes harsh ultraviolet light and charged particles from the Sun, cosmic rays from exotic sources in the galaxy, and occasional strikes by micrometeoroids within our solar system,” said Paul Geithner, technical deputy project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in the release.
NASA closed their statement by saying the impact did not cause any changes to Webb’s operations schedule.
The first full-color images and data from the telescope is scheduled to be released on July, 12, 2022.