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詹姆斯·韦伯望远镜完成在太空中的部署

The James Webb Telescope Finishes Deployment In Space

NASA had never attempted such a complicated deployment before, and there were hundreds of ways that the process could go wrong. If an important part became stuck—really, truly stuck—NASA would have to face the painful reality of abandoning its brand-new, $10 billion mission. Over the past two weeks, Webb’s stewards have worked nearly nonstop, trading 12-hour shifts, checking and rechecking data as hundreds of little mechanisms clicked into action.

NASA之前从来没有尝试完成这样复杂的部署,并且有数百种可能出错的情况。如果一个重要的零件被确认严重出错,NASA将会面对放弃其全新的100亿美元计划的痛苦现实。在过去的两周里,詹姆斯·韦伯望远镜的操作员几乎没有休息地十二小时轮班检查和复查数据为了数百个机制正确运行。

The Webb telescope, named after a former NASA administrator, left Earth in a thundering launch from a rain-forest-ringed spaceport. The mood in town in the days before launch was cheery optimism, with an undercurrent of low-grade panic. When I asked the engineers and scientists there about the launch, they would make a bit of a nervous face before returning to a confident expression. The launch wasn’t the scary bit; Webb was riding on one of the most reliable rockets in the industry. The deployment sequence was another story. When I asked them about that, their face would turn into a perfect imitation of the grimace emoji. Astronauts managed to build the International Space Station in orbit, yes, and to repair the Hubble Space Telescope when it needed fixing. But they wouldn’t be able to help Webb after it launched. The mission is a very complicated series of “this has to work” moments. If something had jammed during deployment and couldn’t get unstuck, the next Hubble would have become a new piece of space junk.

詹姆斯·韦伯望远镜以前NASA局长名字命名,伴随着雷鸣般的声音,它从雨林环绕的太空港发射离开地球。在发射前几天,镇上的气氛在欢快乐观中夹杂着一点恐慌。当我向工程师和科学家问到这次发射的事情时,在信誓旦旦地述说之前,他们脸上往往会带有一点紧张。这次发射并不可怕,詹姆斯·韦伯望远镜搭乘的是业界最可靠的火箭之一,而部署望远镜就是另一回事了。当我问到这方面问题时,他们的脸上的表情就会变得类似于鬼脸表情。虽然宇航员设法在地球轨道上建立了国际空间站,可以在詹姆斯·韦伯望远镜需要修复时修复它,但是在詹姆斯·韦伯望远镜发射后,他们将无法操作它。这项任务包括一系列非常复杂且不得不做的小任务,如果有东西在部署中卡住了且无法解开,那么詹姆斯·韦伯望远镜将成为一个新的太空垃圾。

Read more at The Atlantic

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