NASA confirms a meteorite collided with the James Webb Space Telescope

NASA announced that its next-generation James Webb Space Telescope poised to unlock the universe, has been struck by a meteorite.

1 minute & 15 seconds read time

NASA has taken to its blog to announce that its James Webb Space Telescope has been struck by a micrometeorite.

The space agency recently published a report that states Webb was struck by a micrometeorite between May 23 and May 25. The micrometeorite struck Webb's primary mirror, and NASA has said that the telescope is still performing at a level that is beyond its intended mission requirements despite there being a "detectable effect in data". Notably, NASA writes that micrometeorite impacts are an "unavoidable aspect of operating any spacecraft" and that Webb engineers anticipated that impacts such as these would be common.

Engineers behind Webb constructed the next-generation space telescope to be capable of withstanding micrometeorite impacts. However, the micrometeorite that recently impacted Webb was larger than what was simulated on Earth, and over the course of Webb's life, it will undoubtedly continue to be hit with micrometeorites that will "gracefully degrade telescope performance," according to Lee Feinberg, Webb optical telescope element manager at NASA Goddard.

"With Webb's mirrors exposed to space, we expected that occasional micrometeoroid impacts would gracefully degrade telescope performance over time. Since launch, we have had four smaller measurable micrometeoroid strikes that were consistent with expectations and this one more recently that is larger than our degradation predictions assumed. We will use this flight data to update our analysis of performance over time and also develop operational approaches to assure we maximize the imaging performance of Webb to the best extent possible for many years to come," said Feinberg.

NASA confirms a meteorite collided with the James Webb Space Telescope 01
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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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