Micrometeoroid: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will launch in 2019. And this is not just a telescope, but the most powerful space observatory ever built. The mission of the JWST is to study the physics of the early universe and look for signs of the first stars and galaxies that forme after the Big Bang. But what makes this an extraordinary feat of engineering is how it will do so: with a 6.5-meter mirror, 18 gold-coate beryllium mirrors, and four specialize instruments optimize to work in infrared light. To protect Webb’s mirrors and keep them clean, a team of engineers at Northrop Grumman develop a 5-layer micrometeoroid shield. This shield will deflect micrometeoroids, tiny pieces of space dust and debris, that would otherwise damage the telescope.
The first layer of the micrometeoroid shield is made of woven Kevlar fabric. This layer will stop any particles larger than about 100 microns (0.1 mm). The second layer is made of aluminum foil. Which will stop particles larger than 10 microns. The third and fourth layers are made of flexible polycarbonate sheets, which will stop particles larger than 1 micron. The fifth and final layer is a thin film of quartz. Which will stop particles larger than 0.1 micron. This multilayer shield will protect Webb from the vast majority of micrometeoroids in space. However, there is always a chance that a particularly large or fast-moving particle could make it through the shield and damage the telescope’s mirrors. To mitigate this risk. The Webb team has develope a mirror coating that can heal itself if it is damage by a micrometeoroid strike.
What is NASA Webb?
NASA Webb is a space telescope that will be launche in 2021. It is name after James E. Webb, who was the head of NASA from 1961 to 1968. The telescope is designe to observe distant objects in the universe. Including stars. Galaxies, and black holes.
Webb will be the biggest and most impressive space telescope at any point constructed. It will have a primary mirror that is 6.5 meters in diameter. Which is nearly three times the size of the Hubble Space Telescope’s primary mirror. Webb will also have a much higher resolution than Hubble. Meaning that it will be able to see objects in greater detail.
Whys does NASA Webb need to be protected from micrometeoroids?
As NASA’s Webb telescope is being built to study some of the universe’s most distant objects. It must be protect from even the smallest particles that could damage its sensitive mirrors and instruments. During a recent test, a 3mm-wide projectile was fire at Webb’s primary mirror at a speed of 22,370 mph (9.8 km/s). The impact create a small crater just 40 microns deep. While this amount of damage would not be catastrophic for Webb. It would still create a noticeable blemish on the mirror’s surface.
To prevent any potential damage, Webb will be outfitted with a shield to deflect micrometeoroids before they can hit the telescope. This shield will be made of multiple layers of Kevlar and Nextel fabric, and will be able to withstand impacts from particles up to 1 cm in size.
How do scientists test for micrometeoroids?
The NASA Webb Micrometeoroid Mitigation Update provides updates on the latest efforts to test for and mitigate the risk of micrometeoroids.
Scientists test for micrometeoroids by looking for their effects on objects in space. For example, they might look for craters on satellites or debris from collisions. They can also use sensors to detect when a micrometeoroid hits something in space.
Mitigating the risk of micrometeoroids is important because they can damage spacecraft and cause problems for astronauts. NASA is working on several different approaches to mitigating this risk, including developing better shielding for spacecraft and collaborating with other agencies on early warning systems.
What is a micrometeoroid?
A micrometeoroid is a very small meteoroid; typically. It is any natural object that is moving through space that is smaller than a grain of sand. This means that even though they are extremely tiny. They can still pack quite a punch! When micrometeoroids enter Earth’s atmosphere. They heat up from friction and create what we know as “shooting stars.”
What causes micrometeoroids?
There are a number of factors that contribute to the formation of micrometeoroids. One of the most important is the presence of dust particles in space. These particles can be left behind by comets as they travel through the solar system, or they may be generate by collisions between larger objects such as asteroids.
Another key factor is the orbital path of a potential micrometeoroid-forming object. If an object is orbiting close to Earth, it is more likely to encounter our planet’s atmosphere and be pull down to the surface. Additionally, if an object has a highly elliptical orbit.It is also more likely to interact with Earth’s atmosphere and be drawn in towards our planet.
Finally, the size of an object plays a role in its likelihood of becoming a micrometeoroid. Smaller objects are more easily influence by the gravitational forces exert by larger bodies, and thus are more likely to end up on a collision course with Earth.
How many micrometeoroids are in our atmosphere at any given time?
The number of micrometeoroids in our atmosphere at any given time is impossible to determine exactly. However, NASA scientists estimate that there are approximately 50,000 particles larger than 0.1 mm in diameter orbiting the Earth at any given time. The majority of these particles are much smaller. With an average size of approximately 0.01 mm.
As the NASA Webb Micrometeoroid Mitigation team continues to work hard on protecting the telescope from micrometeoroids. We want to keep you update on our progress. We’re making great strides in developing and testing new mitigation techniques, and we’re confident that the Webb Telescope will be well-protect when it launches. Much thanks to you for your proceed with help of our endeavors!
The Webb Micrometeoroid