Because the Webb telescope will be launched into space and operate in an extremely cold environment, it needs to be built with materials that are both lightweight and stable. It needs to maintain its shape despite a range of temperatures. One of the science instruments on the telescope, NIRSpec, or Near Infrared Spectrograph, is largely made from a ceramic known as silicon carbide. This episode of Behind the Webb takes us on a journey from the origins of this special material to how it's incorporated into the next great space observatory.
Publication: September 23, 2015