While the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic bringing most of the US to a standstill, its government space agency - NASA, on Sunday, has successfully deployed its James Webb telescope's primary mirror for the first time. Earlier, NASA had paused all the work related to the telescope due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused a delay in the launch of the telescope. The US which is currently the epicenter of the pandemic has reported 3,27,871 cases with 9325 deaths till date.
Recent reports state the James Webb telescope was able to successfully extend and unfold its entire length covering 6.5 meters primary mirror. The mirror was tested by reportedly being hooked to specialized gravity-offsetting equipment that simulated the zero-gravity environment in space. While the mirror deployed the full mirror, it also successfully achieved it in a space-like environment.
In August, NASA announced that its engineers have fully assembled the two halves of the James Webb Space Telescope (Webb) for the first time at Northrop Grumman’s facilities in Redondo Beach, California. After mechanically connecting the telescope, NASA then connected the two halves electrically and then tested its connection. Engineers are also set to test the five-layer sun shield of the telescope which is designed to keep Webb's mirrors and scientific instruments cold by blocking infrared light from the Earth, Moon, and Sun. Currently, the newly assembled telescope is going through additional environmental testing.
Touted as NASA's most powerful and complex space telescope, the Webb Telescope will explore the cosmos using infrared light, from planets and moons throughout the universe, according to NASA. Webb - NASA's Hubble Telescope's successor, is an international project led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency), and the Canadian Space Agency. Using Webb, NASA aims to explore our solar system in a deeper manner. Webb will also probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and the earth's place in it. This will be the world's premier space science observatory, as per NASA.