James Webb Space Telescope faces crucial test of thermal stability

NASA’s new deep-space observatory will soon move between hot and cold in a crucial test of its infrared viewing capabilities.

The James Webb Space Telescope, which just finished its alignment phase last week with sharp images of distant stars, is preparing a thermal stability test. This daring gauntlet will deliberately turn the observatory between positions where it receives more or less sunlight. The goal is to make sure the $10 billion observatory can sail through its science work despite the extremes of space and without sacrificing the quality of its images, its pointing ability or other vital abilities that will keep it focused on the early universe.

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