NASA’s next-generation space telescope has finished the trials of another science instrument, sending it another step closer to starting formal operations.
The $10 billion worth James Webb Space Telescope is NASA’s biggest and most powerful space science observatory. It will search the cosmos to uncover the history of the universe’s initial galaxies and the formation of stars and planets. NASA officials wished to release the first operational pictures from the telescope, which launched on December 25th, 2021, on July 12th during a live event.
The latest instrument to be tested, calibrated, and assessed by the mission team was the telescope’s Near-Infrared Spectrograph. This device has four key modes that the team officially announced are ready to start science operations, as per a statement from NASA; “NIRSpec is the third of the observatory’s four instruments to be cleared for regular work..”
“We made it: NIRSpec is ready for science! This is an amazing moment, the result of the hard work of so many JWST and NIRSpec people and teams over more than two decades,” Pierre Ferruit, Webb project scientist with the European Space Agency (ESA) and principal investigator for NIRSpec, announced in the statement. “I am eager to see the first scientific results coming from NIRSpec observations. I have no doubt they will be fantastic. Big thanks to all who made this possible across the years — great job!”