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NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is damaged, and this image proves it

A micrometeorite collided with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope and now images have been released showing where it was struck.

Published Jul 19, 2022 12:01 AM CDT   |   Updated Wed, Aug 10 2022 4:32 AM CDT

At the beginning of June, NASA confirmed that the James Webb Space Telescope, the space agency's newest space telescope, had been struck by a micrometeorite.

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is damaged, and this image proves it 01 |

NASA confirmed that a micrometeorite struck the new observatory sometime between May 23 and May 25, and after analysis, engineers were able to discover that the tiny space rock impacted Webb's primary mirror. Unfortunately, micrometeorites are an "unavoidable aspect of operating any spacecraft", according to NASA. Notably, engineers accounted for micrometeorite impacts throughout Webb's construction and anticipated that impacts would be somewhat common.

As for the impact that occurred between May 23 and May 24, NASA stated that Webb is still performing at a level beyond its mission requirements and that over the course of its estimated 10-year lifespan, impacts such as these will "gracefully degrade telescope performance". The segment that was impacted was segment C3, and according to reports, the overall impact on the telescope's performance is small "because only a small portion of the telescope was affected".

Furthermore, Webb's other seventeen mirror segments remain unimpacted by the collision and have been realigned to account for the damage that was caused to segment C3. Engineers are currently trying to work out how often micrometeorites will strike Webb and if the event that occurred between May 23 and May 25 was "rare" or if it will be a frequent problem that Webb has to endure.

At the moment, engineers consider a "rare" event to be a high-energy impact that would only happen once every few years, however, the Webb team hasn't ruled out that pre-launch modeling of micrometeorite impacts may have been incorrect.

In other news about Webb, an astronomer has explained the very first colored image taken by Webb, and if you haven't seen it, Webb has already snapped an incredible image of the largest planet in our solar system. For more information on these stories, check out the below links.

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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 and space 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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