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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Hugh Bollinger


JWST extended sunscreen frames (credit: NASA)

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) initiated and successfully completed one of its most critical maneuvers, the deployment of a piece of infrastructure that will shield the telescope from the Sun. A structure has multiple, mechanical components which began forming with a two-part frame extending from the space platform. The next steps require a folded, Hi-Tec, sunscreen with multiple layers to properly unfurl and be secured to the sides of the frame. The scientific instruments on the telescope will survey stars and galaxies by measuring their infrared light (IR). This requires the instruments to be super-cold with temperatures of -370F (-220C) or colder for the IR sensors to work properly. The process of unfurling the sunscreen will require several days to complete.

NASA prepared a video illustrating of the origami-like processes that all must work perfectly to allow the telescope to properly peer back to the beginnings of time after the Big Bang ignited the universe. No small job for this massively engineered, scientific device. WHB


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