NASA’s mighty $10 billion space telescope is firing on all cylinders again.
of james webb space telescope (JWST or Webb) returned to full scientific operations on Monday (January 30), recovering from a malfunction that affected one of its instruments.
The Webb team conducted several days of testing and evaluation after the “communication delay” on January 15th. caused a problem Using the Telescope’s Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) instrument, according to Tuesday (January 31) statement (opens in new tab) From NASA.
“Observations affected by the suspension of NIRISS operations will be rescheduled,” the agency said in a brief statement, noting that the instrument was successfully recovered on Friday (January 27).
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NIRISS was provided by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), so NASA and CSA personnel worked together to troubleshoot it. According to Jan. 24, the first problem was “flight software timed out due to communication delays in the instrument.” statement (opens in new tab) From NASA.
NIRISS works fine. 4 different modes (opens in new tab), according to NASA. This device may be assigned to act as a camera when other his JWST devices are busy. Alternatively, NIRISS can see small light signatures. exoplanet Atmospheric, high-contrast imaging, or looking far away galaxy.
Before the NIRISS glitch, another Webb instrument had a problem in August 2022: the grating wheel Inside the observatory’s mid-infrared instrument (Miri). However, this wheel was only required for one of his four observation modes on her MIRI, and the device continued observations during the recovery effort. Work to recover the affected modes, called the medium-resolution spectrometer, was completed in November.
In December, the JWST team also spent two weeks addressing the following issues: glitch It kept the telescope in safe mode, making scientific observations difficult. A software glitch in the observatory’s attitude control system was identified as a problem, affecting the direction the telescope was pointing. The observatory recovered relatively quickly from the problem and resumed full scientific operations on December 20th.
Elizabeth Howell is co-author ofwhy am i tall (opens in new tab)?” (ECW Press, 2022, co-authored with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book on space medicine. Follow her on Twitter. @Howell Space (opens in new tab)Follow us on Twitter @space.com (opens in new tab) Also Facebook (opens in new tab).