The Downlink: Shields Up for James Webb, Breakthrough Eyes New SETI Targets
Shields up for James Webb Space Telescope
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope sits with its five-layer sunshield fully deployed during testing at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California.
Welcome to issue 4 of The Downlink, a planetary exploration news roundup from The Planetary Society! Here's everything that crossed our radar this week.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) successfully deployed its sun shield during a ground test. It was the first time the five-layer shield, which will block the sun’s rays and keep the telescope chilled to -223° C (-370° F), unfurled with the telescope mirrors attached. JWST is scheduled to launch in 2021.
NASA released a new selfie of the Mars Curiosity rover comprised of 57 images taken by a camera on the rover’s robotic arm. Curiosity also recently completed a “wet chemistry” experiment by placing a drill sample into a special cup containing solvents. By heating the solvents and sample, Curiosity can scan for carbon-based molecules important to the formation of life.