NASA drops update for James Webb Telescope and its coming completion

NASA has taken to its blog to announce an update on the James Webb Space Telescope and the progress with its calibration.

2 minutes & 11 seconds read time

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is closing in on its goal of calibrating all of its extremely sensitive and highly advanced instruments.

NASA drops update for James Webb Telescope and its coming completion 01

NASA has taken to its blog to update the public on the progress being made on the agency's next-generation space telescope. According to NASA, one of the four primary scientific instruments aboard the observatory is known as the Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph instrument (NIRISS), and the testing of the final "mode" on the instrument, the Single Object Slitless Spectroscopy (SOSS) capability, was recently completed - leading NASA engineers to give the thumbs up for science operations.

The space agency explains that the SOSS mode is a specifically designed prism that absorbs the light from the cosmos and splits it into three separate rainbows. The observatory will be able to capture more than 2,000 infrared colors from a single observation, which will allow researchers to lock onto planets and probe their atmosphere for certain molecules. Observing exoplanets and determining their atmospheres will be the main task of the SOSS mode, according to NASA.

Rene Doyon, principal investigator for NIRISS, explained the post-launch testing for the NIRISS modes have been completed and yielded results that were better than predicted. Notably, Doyon says that there is a major excitement in knowing that the "two-decade journey of Canada's contribution to the mission" is coming to an end.

Furthermore, Doyon says, "I am pinching myself" at the thought that the NIRISS instrument could begin probing the atmosphere's of its first distant exoplanets in just a few days.

"I'm so excited and thrilled to think that we've finally reached the end of this two-decade-long journey of Canada's contribution to the mission. All four NIRISS modes are not only ready, but the instrument as a whole is performing significantly better than we predicted. I am pinching myself at the thought that we are just days away from the start of science operations, and in particular from NIRISS probing its first exoplanet atmospheres," said Rene Doyon, principal investigator for NIRISS, as well as Webb's Fine Guidance Sensor, at the University of Montreal.

In other JWST news, NASA confirmed when the public could expect the first colored image from the new next-generation space telescope. Additionally, a former NASA administrator revealed in her recent book that Elon Musk created SpaceX after a Russian engineer spat on him during negotiations.

Read more: NASA confirms release date for 1st James Webb telescope colored image

Read more: NASA head: Elon Musk created SpaceX after Russian engineer spat on him


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.

Newsletter Subscription

Related Tags