Behind the Webb
Technology at the Extremes
Episode 16: Canada's Dynamic Duo
Aug 13, 2012
Visit the Canadian Space Agency for a look at Webb's Fine Guidance Sensor/Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph. This instrument will help point the telescope and examine the light from distant objects, gleaning
Episode 15: The Golden Touch
Jun 14, 2012
The Webb telescope's mirrors must be coated in an extremely thin layer of gold in order to best reflect infrared light. Find out how engineers coat an entire mirror in only a few grams of gold.
Episode 14: The MIRI Has Two Faces
Feb 13, 2012
The Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) has two functions: it's both a camera, which takes images, and a spectrograph, which breaks light into colors. Learn why MIRI's dual nature will make it a powerful instrument.
Episode 13: Good Vibrations
Nov 30, 2011
It's time to shake things up. Webb's mirrors undergo vibration testing to simulate the experience of being launched into space. These tests ensure that the mirror segments will survive their trip into orbit without
Episode 12: On the Wings of Apollo
Sep 23, 2011
At Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, a cavernous chamber is being modified for use in testing the Webb telescope. Environmental testing is part of the myriad of tests Webb must endure to be deemed space-worthy.
Episode 11: Great Plane
May 6, 2011
Webb's backplane will hold its 18 hexagonal mirror segments in place, allowing them to function as one. Engineers take us through the backplane design process.
Episode 10: Wax On, Wax Off
Mar 9, 2011
Webb's mirrors must be precisely shaped to best capture light and direct it to the telescope's detectors. Watch as the mirrors are ground and polished to the perfect configuration.
Episode 9: Not So Heavy Metal
Jan 13, 2011
Webb's perfectly polished, highly reflective mirrors start their life as a pile of rubble, mined from a desert in Utah. Join "Behind the Webb" as we explore a beryllium mining operation.
Episode 8: Stretching Webb's Wings
Nov 17, 2010
Webb's protective sunshield will be folded up inside the rocket that carries it into orbit. Engineers explain the process of unfurling the sunshield from a million miles away.
Episode 7: Got Your Back
Oct 8, 2010
Webb's mirror, made of 18 individual segments, will be folded up inside the rocket that carries the telescope into orbit. Engineers are constructing the frame at the back of the mirror that will adjust Webb's segments to
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