New mirror in space – level 3
NASA’s new space telescope opened its huge gold mirror on Saturday, which was the final step in the observatory’s dramatic unfurling.
The last part of the 6.5-meter flower-shaped mirror swung into place at flight controllers’ command, completing the unfolding of the James Webb Space Telescope. The telescope cost 10 billion dollars to build, and it’s more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope. It will scan space for light streaming from the first stars and galaxies that were formed 13.7 billion years ago. To accomplish this, NASA had to give the telescope the biggest and most sensitive mirror ever launched.
The Webb telescope is so big that it had to be folded like origami to fit in the rocket that soared from South America two weeks ago. The riskiest operation happened earlier in this week when the tennis court-size sunshield unfurled, providing shade for the mirror and sensors of many types of light.
Difficult words: unfurl (to open something that was rolled or folded, such as an umbrella or sail), light stream (when an object leaves a continuous stream of light rays or beams), origami (the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures).
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