James Webb, Halley’s Comet may be set for cosmic dust-up
The James Webb Space Telescope is predicted to pass through Halley’s Comet’s debris trail next year, meaning that particles could further endanger its sensitive primary mirror.
Halley’s Comet itself won’t be back in the inner solar system until 2061, but the bright tail trailing out behind it is filled with dust, debris and ice shed by the comet. It’s that debris field that JWST is predicted to enter in 2023 and 2024.
According to Nature , meteor shower dust like that left behind by Halley only constitutes around 5 percent of the impact risk to Webb, while the rest is from random hits from stray dust. Scientists have long planned for such hits during Webb’s lifetime, but May’s unexpected impact has had scientists re-evaluating the potential for serious damage and developing custom meteor shower forecasts at Lagrange point 2, where Webb sits in space.
Back in the dark age, circa 1993, some friend assembled a telescope with some mirrors and PVC pipes.
Kids these days. They have all sorte of fancy tech stuff. We had to improvise with stone knives and bearskins.
Back when I was a young whippersnapper i made a 30cm dobsonian telescope. Hand ground the mirror over the course of about six weeks. Had to leave it behind when I emigrated. Sobs.
Preparing for Skylab: The separate 1972 experimental mission that never left the ground
Remember Skylab? How about SMEAT? Fifty years ago, a trio of US astronauts took part in 56-day simulation of a Skylab mission that would prove critical to the success of the US’s first crewed space station.
SMEAT (Skylab Medical Experiment Altitude Test) took place a year after Apollo 15 launched to the Moon. It was originally planned to consist of a 28-day mission and then a 56-day mission within a partial mock-up of Skylab sealed in a hypobaric chamber at NASA’s Manned Spaceflight Center in Houston.
Martian rock samples collected by NASA’s Perseverance rover won’t arrive on Earth until 2033 – as they’ll need an orbiter and lander sent out toward the end of the decade to fetch them, the US space agency said Wednesday.
Once the samples get to Earth, scientists will look for physical and chemical evidence that Mars may have once supported an environment that hosted simple life forms, like alien microbes. With any luck, the Earth will still be capable at that point of hosting complex life forms, like scientists.
SpaceX upgrades Starlink to reflect less light, can’t launch without its Starship
SpaceX’s has big claims that its second-generation Starlink broadband internet satellites will slash light pollution on Earth, but there’s one big catch: they’re apparently too heavy to launch.
ESA declares the Sentinel-1B mission over after payload resuscitation ends
ESA has admitted defeat and declared the mission of its Sentinel-1B spacecraft is at an end after attempts to deal with a borked power bus ended in failure.