Two days after launching the James Webb Space Telescope, scientists from NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) are ready to begin the complex process of deploying the telescope’s sun shields. According to ESA, the process will begin with the deployment of the two structures which are protecting the folded sun shields. Once that is done, the sun shields will be deployed laterally following which the five different layers will be separated by tensioning. Until now, Webb was folded like origami, a process which was necessary to make the 21-foot and 6.5 meter wide fit into the Ariane 5 rocket. The final stage will be when Webb’s golden mirrors will be deployed, thus bringing the telescope to life.
One of the most sophisticated technological systems ever created on Earth is on its way. It is also one of the most expensive with a price tag of $10b. Webb is currently 3,01,215 miles from Earth travelling at 1.39 kilometers per second. It is headed to a destination 15,00,000 kilometers away from Earth. It will look back in time to the Dark Ages of the Universe. It is like a sort of time machine. The further out in space astronomers look, the further back in time they are looking. Astronomers don’t know yet when first light happened. Things will happen, maybe.