July 02, 2012
Members of the public can track the progress of the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope inside a NASA clean room, where the recently delivered Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) will be integrated into the science instrument payload. Two cameras show the giant clean room at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Online screen shots from the two clean-room cameras, affectionally dubbed "Webb-cams," are updated every minute.
Developed by a consortium of 10 European institutions and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and delivered by the European Space Agency, MIRI is the first Webb telescope instrument to be completed.
The clean room is generally occupied Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. PDT (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT).
The Webb-cams can be seen online at: http://jwst.nasa.gov/webcam.html .
Of the James Webb Space Telescope's four science instruments, only MIRI can see light in the mid-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. This unique capability will allow the Webb telescope to study physical processes occurring in the cosmos that the other Webb instruments cannot see.
MIRI's sensitive detectors will allow it to make unique observations of many things, including the light of distant galaxies, newly forming stars within our own Milky Way, and the formation of planets around stars other than our own, as well as planets, comets and the outermost debris disk in our own solar system.
The Webb Telescope project, managed at Goddard, is the world's next-generation space observatory and successor to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. It is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.
For more information about MIRI and its arrival at NASA Goddard, visit: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-174 .
For more information about the James Webb Space Telescope, visit: http://www.jwst.nasa.gov .
Written by Rob Gutro
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Whitney Clavin 818-354-4673
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.