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Tiny Meteoroid Bounces Off Webb Space Telescope

# Tiny Meteoroid Bounces Off Webb Space Telescope

Space is full of floating debris beyond just derelict satellites. Rocks ranging from meteoroids to meteorites frequently pass by Earth or enter our atmosphere. However, due to our protective atmosphere, most burn up upon entry. Unfortunately, our scientific equipment in orbit doesn’t enjoy the same protection.

NASA recently confirmed that in late May, the James Webb Space Telescope was struck by a micrometeoroid, hitting one of its large mirrors. Despite a micrometeoroid being as small as a grain of sand, in the vacuum of space with endless momentum, even tiny objects can cause significant impacts on surfaces. Although the Webb Telescope was designed to endure such encounters, adjustments were necessary to rectify the distortion caused by the impact.

Paul Geithner, technical deputy project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, stated, “We always knew that Webb would have to weather the space environment, which includes harsh ultraviolet light, charged particles from the Sun, cosmic rays from exotic sources in the galaxy, and occasional strikes by micrometeoroids within our solar system.”

Fortunately, engineers believe that this impact will not result in lasting damage, ensuring that the Webb Telescope can still capture and share high-resolution images of its observations in the coming months.

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