NASA space telescope reaches milestone

Sept. 13, 2011 at 7:56 PM
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GREENBELT, Md., Sept. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists working on NASA's James Webb Space telescope say it's reached a major milestone with the completion of the coating of the telescope's mirrors.

The telescope's 21 mirrors have been coated with a microscopically thin layer of gold, chosen for its ability to reflect infrared light properly from the mirrors into the telescope's science instruments, a NASA release said Tuesday.

The coating will allow the telescope's "infrared eyes" to observe extremely faint objects in infrared light as part of its intended mission to observe the most distant objects in the universe, the agency said.

"Finishing all mirror coatings on schedule is another major success story for the Webb telescope mirrors," Lee Feinberg NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., said. "These coatings easily meet their specifications, ensuring even more scientific discovery potential for the Webb telescope."

The Webb telescope, the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

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