Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First flight instrument delivered for James Webb Space Telescope

Date:
June 15, 2012
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
The first of four instruments to fly aboard NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (Webb) has been delivered to NASA. The Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) will allow scientists to study cold and distant objects in greater detail than ever before.

The MIRI Cleanroom Huddle: Although it appears that these six contamination control engineers are in a huddle around the James Webb Space Telescope's Mid-Infrared Instrument (or MIRI), they are conducting a receiving inspection. Engineers from the European Space Agency are wearing blue hoods, and engineers from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center are wearing the white hoods. As part of the standard receiving inspection, they are looking for the tiniest traces of dust or contamination which would have to be remedied because cleanliness is a priority for such a sensitive instrument; MIRI passed its inspection review.
Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

The first of four instruments to fly aboard NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (Webb) has been delivered to NASA. The Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) will allow scientists to study cold and distant objects in greater detail than ever before.

MIRI arrived at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. on May 29. It has been undergoing inspection before being integrated into Webb's science instrument payload known as the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM).

Assembled at and shipped from the Science and Technology Facilities Council's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the United Kingdom, MIRI was developed by a consortium of 10 European institutions and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and delivered by the European Space Agency.

George Rieke, MIRI science team lead at the University of Arizona, Tucson, noted, "MIRI is the first Webb instrument to be delivered, the result of teamwork in the U.S. and internationally."

MIRI will observe light with wavelengths in the mid-infrared range of 5 microns to 28 microns, which is a longer wavelength than human eyes can detect. It is the only instrument of the four with this particular ability to observe the physical processes occurring in the cosmos.

"MIRI will enable Webb to distinguish the oldest galaxies from more evolved objects that have undergone several cycles of star birth and death," said Matt Greenhouse, ISIM project scientist at Goddard. "MIRI also will provide a unique window into the birth places of stars which are typically enshrouded by dust that shorter wavelength light cannot penetrate."

MIRI's sensitive detectors will allow it to observe light, cool stars in very distant galaxies; unveil newly forming stars within our Milky Way; find signatures of the formation of planets around stars other than our own; and take imagery and spectroscopy of planets, comets and the outermost bits of debris in our solar system. MIRI's images will enable scientists to study an object's shape and structure.

"MIRI will help us understand what's out there at the edge of what we can see," said Mike Ressler, the instrument's project scientist at JPL. "The shorter-wavelength instruments will discover the glow of the farthest known objects, but we need MIRI to help identify what they are -- supermassive black holes, newborn galaxies or something we've never seen before."

The most powerful space telescope ever built, Webb is the successor to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Webb's four instruments will reveal how the universe evolved from the Big Bang to the formation of our solar system. Webb is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

To view two "Behind the Webb" videos about MIRI, visit: http://go.nasa.gov/LQUFC9 and http://go.nasa.gov/LQUPta

For more information about the mid- and near-infrared spectrum, visit: http://www.jwst.nasa.gov/faq.html#ir

For more information about NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, visit: www.jwst.nasa.gov


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "First flight instrument delivered for James Webb Space Telescope." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120615114328.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2012, June 15). First flight instrument delivered for James Webb Space Telescope. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120615114328.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "First flight instrument delivered for James Webb Space Telescope." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120615114328.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finally Reaches Long-Term Goal

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finally Reaches Long-Term Goal

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — After more than two years, NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover reached Mount Sharp, its long-term destination. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
SpaceX's Elon Musk Really Wants To Colonize Mars

SpaceX's Elon Musk Really Wants To Colonize Mars

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — Elon Musk has been talking about his goal of colonizing Mars for years now, but how much of it does he actually have figured out, and is it possible? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
International Space Station Crew Returns Safely To Earth

International Space Station Crew Returns Safely To Earth

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — The three-man crew touched down in Kazakhstan Wednesday after more than five months of science experiments in orbit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solar Storm To Hit This Weekend, Scientists Not Worried

Solar Storm To Hit This Weekend, Scientists Not Worried

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — Two solar flares which erupted in our direction this week will arrive this weekend. The resulting solar storm will be powerful but not dangerous. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins