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James Webb Telescope at risk of damage from Comet Halley debris again next year |  Sciences

James Webb Telescope at risk of damage from Comet Halley debris again next year | Sciences

The James Webb Telescope will spend the next two years flying through the dust and grit left by Comet Halley in our solar system. Scientists want to prevent the $10 billion (9.8 billion euros) telescope from being damaged again As in May this year.

So it’s not Halley’s Comet itself that could hit the James Webb Telescope, even though it measures about 15 x 8 kilometres. After all, Halley only orbits the Sun every 75 years and isn’t expected to return to our solar system until 2061. Then Halley will pass relatively close to Earth, likely as bright as the brightest star Sirius. By then, the Webb Telescope will likely be gone. The hope is that it will last until early 2040. Halley, as far as we know, is the only comet that can be seen with the naked eye twice in a lifetime.

Comets consist of dust, rock and ice. When they get close to the sun, they melt and repel substances. They leave sand-sized grains on their way to and from the solar system, before and after the ring around the sun. Engineers expect about one meteor impact each month, but that could increase dramatically if the telescope travels through a meteor shower.

NASA is trying to predict meteor showers for engineers so they can safely aim the Webb Telescope as far as possible. Peaks are expected in May of next year and the year after, when Webb flies through the stream of Halley’s Comet.

In the video below, you can see what the James Webb telescope looks like and what it is used for:

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