NASA’s next big space observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope, has a little over a year before it launches — and until then, the spacecraft has been going through rigorous amounts of testing to prepare for its journey. It recently finished up its latest testing round at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where it was placed inside a giant cryogenic vacuum chamber and subjected to extremely cold temperatures, to simulate the frigid environment of space. And now NASA has released an epic timelapse of that testing process, which spanned a full nine months.
The video shows just how much care and precision goes into conducting these tests. The James Webb Telescope, or JWST, is a large and very delicate instrument, comprised of 18 hexagonal gold-plated mirrors that together make up the primary mirror of spacecraft. When in formation, these mirrors will gather light from the most distant parts of the Universe, telling astronomers what the youngest stars and galaxies looked like.
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