(Phys.org) —This photograph shows support structures wrapped in gold thermal blankets that look like a golden cage. The structure is housed within the vacuum chamber called the Space Environment Simulator, or SES. The SES is located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., where components of the James Webb Space Telescope are being tested to withstand the extreme temperatures of space.
The entire structure is a system of supports and thermal control devices for the series of thermal tests. Visible in the photo is the lower GESHA (Ground Environmental SES Hardware Assembly).The box in the center photo is a group of four LN2 (liquid nitrogen) panels that are designed to keep it at around 100 kelvins. The panels surround the primary mirror of the OTE (Optical Telescope Element) Simulator or OSIM.
When NASA's Webb telescope launches in 2018, it will fly a million miles from Earth and enable scientists on Earth to see the most detailed pictures of the universe.
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For more information about NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, visit: www.jwst.nasa.gov