James Webb Update – Golden Mirror Test

               As the James Webb telescope launch on Halloween this year fast approaches, the project continues to make strides toward that day. From past achievements such as folding up and packing the massive tennis court size sunshield to testing the shield itself, the exciting project has made tremendous progress. The most recent milestone was the completed final testing of the telescope’s gold mirror. The mirror is precisely 6.5 m wide, and its purpose will be to reflect light back from galaxies and stars for further study on Earth. This test marks the final time the gold mirror will be checked before it is packed up and shipped off to the launch site. The tests have been conducted by Northrop Grumman, the team that is helping build James Webb. The mirror itself must precisely fold into the launch rocket without error or any form of damage. It consists of two wings folded up in an ongoing simulation conducted over the next several days. The final part of the mirror will be folded. Beryllium makes up the primary mirror in the telescope that cost $10 billion. Webb will use the received infrared light to take readings of the stars and galaxies, allowing humanity to see inside galaxies like never before. Several projects hope to be a part of James Webb in the first year of its operation as astronauts from over 40 countries have allocated time on the telescope.

               Lenox Laser had the honor of being part of the project by designing precision alignment targets for its mid-infrared instrument (MIRI). Lenox Laser was even invited to see this process firsthand when they were created. Given all of James Webb’s technology, it was designed so that no human is needed for repairs. Although if desperately needed, a piloted crew could be sent to perform repairs and come home from a short mission. James Webb will be the new premier space telescope for US outer space study if all is successful. Lenox Laser wishes the very best to all involved and extends a heartfelt thank you for allowing us to be a part of this monumental moment in history.

Courtesy of NASA and ESA/Hubble

               If you would like to read more, click here to read an article about James Webb’s final tests by MSN.

SpaceX and the Inspiration4

               SpaceX has done extraordinary things over the years, making a name for itself with several missions to study the universe. This September, they plan to make history again with a first-of-its-kind mission entirely made up of civilians. The four-person crew will be entering low Earth orbit for a 3-day duration. The targeted date for no later than September 15. The crew members chosen are geoscientist Dr. Sian Proctor who completed four previous NASA missions, former Air Force member Chris Sembroski who served as a space camp counselor working with Lockheed Martin and earned a degree in aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Another member is 29-year-old Hayley Arceneaux, a bone cancer survivor and former patient of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Hayley has a physician’s assistant degree and will also be the youngest person ever to travel to space. Hayley was chosen by St. Jude’s themselves to go on this civilian-only mission. The man behind this idea and the last member is Jared Isaacman, the billionaire CEO of Shift4 Payments. He will also serve as commander. Jared will give all money from this endeavor to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

               Training for missions usually takes around two years, but for this Dragon crew, time is short. The training provided by NASA will be based on a NASA-approved curriculum. Given the mission only lasting three days, the team will not need to learn traditional spacewalks and station operations training. Isaacman plans to put the crew through their paces, testing them in isolated environments in close quarters. The mission will get to space using a retooled Falcon 9 rocket from past Dragon crew missions. With this mission being the first all civilian crew flight, it will set a record for history. None of the four people selected have past space experience but have worked with the government and other divisions. They will receive commercial-style training and be the first to complete a space mission with no government oversight. Isaacman could not be more thrilled partnering with SpaceX; with their past achievements, he knew that they were the right people for the job. For Hayley, being a part of this mission was a dream come true, and her family was happy to do anything to make it happen.

               This mission is extraordinary because not only does it give ordinary people a fantastic opportunity, but it also gives hope to the many people fighting cancer. For more information, please visit Inspiration4’s website. If you would like to read more about this, please click here for an article about it from MSN.

Potential for Microbial Life on Mars

Courtesy of NASA

When the Mars Perseverance rover landed on the planet in February, it astonished the world with detailed photos of the planet and audio of the surface. After discovering water and ice on Mars, the next endeavor starting the search for evidence of possible life and life-supporting properties on the planet. A new study conducted by the Astrobiology Journal concluded that there is indeed the right amount of ingredients to support microbial life. The study looked at the planet’s Martian meteorites and their chemical makeup. Observing the chemical reaction whenever these meteorites had continuous constant contact with water once the meteorites fell back to Earth.

Among the many reactions studied, Radiolysis was of massive interest. The reaction is created when radioactive elements like potassium uranium and thorium could be converted sulfates, so much so that they tap water. One of the reasons is that there’s water on the planet because there is a flowing lake somewhere on the planet in the subsurface. It is now believed that once the components of that lake are studied further, how microbial life could exist could possibly be revealed. Also, different wavelengths of light being investigated to potentially give way to a better understanding of Mars’s past.

Further study will be ongoing, but the full extent of the findings may not be known for some time. The idea of life on another planet could be an extraordinary mark left on history forever. We wish all the very best of luck to the teams in their search for answers.

If you would like to read more, please click here.

Using AI-powered Speakers to Monitor Heart Health

               Artificial intelligence has given the world many advantages over the years, from space travel to smart cars. Its next breakthrough is one of the biggest yet, the human heart. Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a new way to determine health issues with the heart and an utterly contactless manner. The current prototype built by academics at the university would use intelligent speakers to detect heart arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats and high blood pressure. It would be able to do it with almost the same accuracy as devices used in today’s hospitals. The studies and prototypes use things like Amazon Alexa devices, Google Home pods, and smart speakers usually used for music.

               The way the technology works is, the patient would sit a few feet in front of the speaker. Depending on how the pitch and resonance of the sound coming back from the speaker changes, the doctor can determine what the heart issue may be to proceed with the treatment as needed. It would also be able to detect breathing patterns as well. If this works, the National Institute of Health (NIH) would undoubtedly take notice. With this exciting innovation, doctors hope that the new technology will help quickly diagnose patients for years to come even further than the heart, possibly even the brain.

               These recent innovations in medical devices like the one Lenox Laser worked with the NIH in a study about protein sampling and delivery into the brain could help doctors prevent and treat diseases. To all those involved with this new study prototype, Lenox Laser would like to send our best wishes for a profound positive outcome. If you would like to read more about the study, click here for an article from ScienceDaily.

James Webb Space Telescope Final Tests

Courtesy of NASA

               Since its creation in 1996, the James Webb telescope has been a monolithic-sized project in scope and scale. The telescopes’ purpose is in-depth investigations of stars and galaxies, not only studying them but going deep inside them and studying them. This could potentially help scientists map the stars and planets. Webb is expected to be the world’s premier space observatory. Once fully operational and tested, the telescope is expected to launch into space on October 31st of this year. James Webb has some last-minute functionality tests to complete but once done, it will be 100% ready for launch on Halloween.

The project has passed many tests and milestones in recent months and years that ensure prospects become a reality. In December 2020, completed environmental testing of its sunshield deployments, to replacing turntables in 2019, the James Webb telescope’s build was completed in 2016. Testing and adjustments have been ongoing ever since. Webb completed a fully functional crown test of all its instruments in August of last year. It is not yet known exactly where in space the telescope will be launched when it finally happens. It is the definitive predecessor to the Hubble telescope. With the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, scientists and engineers are taking every precaution possible during final preparations for launch. So far, James Webb’s team has confirmed that the telescope is sound enough to survive the rigorous tensions of the upcoming launch the satellite will experience.

Lenox Laser is excited to see what the future holds for James Webb and what far reaches of space it will explore. We send our congratulations and best wishes to the entire team involved with the telescope. To see a detailed timeline of the telescope, please click here.

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