Special to CosmicTribune.com, June 9, 2022
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope was struck by a larger than expected micrometeoroid in late May, slightly damaging one of the spacecraft’s 18 primary mirror segments.
NASA said that the telescope is “still performing at a level that exceeds all mission requirements.”
The telescope cost NASA nearly $10 billion to build and more than two decades to complete. But, on Christmas Day 2021, the telescope finally launched to space, where it underwent an extremely complex unfolding process before reaching its final destination roughly 1 million miles from Earth.
According to a report in Verge:
Since its launch, JWST has already been hit by at least four different micrometeoroids, according to a NASA blog post, but all of those were small and about the size of what NASA expected the observatory to encounter. A micrometeoroid is typically a small fragment of an asteroid, usually smaller than a grain of sand. The one that hit JWST in May, however, was larger than what the agency had prepared for, “likely less than .1 millimeter,” a NASA spokesperson told The Verge in an email.