Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

What if JWST fails?!

  • Please log in to reply
69 replies to this topic

#26 sg6

sg6

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9,081
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2010
  • Loc: Norfolk, UK.

Posted 05 September 2019 - 01:41 PM

If it fails someone will have to identify the reason(s).

And it could well become a case of find a suitable person/company. I somehow suspect that "time" will not be identified as a cause.

 

It does seem to have become a "hot potato" as the saying goes. If I were an insurer I think I would pass on covering this one.

 

Will the opening of the mirrors be "close" to earth or out at the Legrange point? Either I expect means no maintenance option - no shuttle. Wonder if someone should have pulled the plug and made a decision to put the resources into the next generation of shuttle craft. Outcry at wasted time and money up until that point but could have delivered greater benefits.

 

Is James Webb still around?



#27 EJN

EJN

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,773
  • Joined: 01 Nov 2005
  • Loc: Between eigenstates

Posted 05 September 2019 - 03:09 PM

Will the opening of the mirrors be "close" to earth or out at the Legrange point?


The mirrors will not unfold until it reaches the LaGrange point.

#28 Mister T

Mister T

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,891
  • Joined: 01 Feb 2008
  • Loc: Upstate NY

Posted 06 September 2019 - 05:51 AM

 

 

 

Is James Webb still around?

He's the pilot smirk.gif


  • physik and happylimpet like this

#29 Joe1950

Joe1950

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10,455
  • Joined: 22 Aug 2015

Posted 09 September 2019 - 12:08 PM

James E Webb. 1906-1992.

 

I read that the entire telescope, that is the upper part with the mirrors, sensors et al, and the lower assembly, that being the light/heat shields, has now been assembled, and the entire scope is complete. However, interconenctive wiring, etc must be done and tested. Then complete systems testing will begin on the entire assembled spacecraft.

 

Launch is scheduled  for March 30, 2021.


  • Sleep Deprived likes this

#30 Dave Mitsky

Dave Mitsky

    ISS

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 93,708
  • Joined: 08 Apr 2002
  • Loc: PA, USA, Planet Earth

Posted 10 September 2019 - 01:09 AM

The costly saga of the JWST...

 

https://ecogirlcosmo...story-of-costs/

 

https://www.scientif...ronomy-suffers/

https://www.gao.gov/...ucts/GAO-19-189

 

https://www.science2...assembly-241299


  • Joe1950 likes this

#31 Joe1950

Joe1950

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10,455
  • Joined: 22 Aug 2015

Posted 04 November 2019 - 09:26 AM

There is a very good YouTube video on the latest status of the project. Recommended.



#32 Frank Otsuka

Frank Otsuka

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 43
  • Joined: 21 Aug 2018

Posted 04 November 2019 - 03:17 PM

Joe 1950

Glad you posted this "youtuber". I have a clip from the same person along the lines of my thread.

 

Tony Darnell - Deep Astronomy see at minute 40 and legal note at 55:40
https://www.youtube....h?v=EsSXeZLv4Zs

 

 

And from a company

 

Archinaut - an actual company doing it. Note time 4:45 - radio telescope reference
https://www.youtube....h?v=e2N1i7_13QM

 

 

And even from NASA - from long ago

 

NASA's Space Robotics Challenge (if you are into the human form robot)
https://www.youtube....h?v=aTpDj5hDO6s

 

 

For the naysayers, I say "follow the money".  Once upon a time we had the USA, the Russians, and the Chinese with launch capability.

 

Last news I saw, there are over 100 companies/entities that can launch sub-orbital to deep space.  And all the new ones are steeped in electronics and robotics.  And they are getting capital to make it happen.

 

NASA has the money but gets whipsawed between the Moon and Mars as priorities.


  • Joe1950 likes this

#33 Joe1950

Joe1950

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10,455
  • Joined: 22 Aug 2015

Posted 04 November 2019 - 04:01 PM

Great vids, Frank. Thanks!



#34 Lucullus

Lucullus

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 909
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2012

Posted 13 November 2019 - 12:48 AM

Could an OWL be built with the money JWST costs? Or else, how large would a ground-based telescope be that costs the same as the JWST?
  • Joe1950 likes this

#35 llanitedave

llanitedave

    Humble Megalomaniac

  • *****
  • Posts: 30,955
  • Joined: 25 Sep 2005
  • Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA

Posted 13 November 2019 - 11:24 AM

Could an OWL be built with the money JWST costs? Or else, how large would a ground-based telescope be that costs the same as the JWST?

Probably any large state-of-the-art ground-based telescope could be built for less money than any state-of-the-art space telescope.  But is that a fundamental rule, or just a current, and temporary reality?

 

One problem with the big ground-based telescopes, well illustrated by the chaos surrounding the TMT telescope on Mauna Kea, is that we're simply running out of good places to put them.  There are very few places on Earth where the seeing is good enough to justify one of those telescopes, and they're getting crowded.  That also leaves large swaths of sky uncovered for the detection and response to fast-breaking events.

 

The promise of cheap and frequent heavy launches driven by SpaceX's new project just might change this equation.  8 meter monolithic mirrors could be launched easily, and the pressure to shave every ounce off the structure would be mitigated.  Schedule pressures would also be decreased.  This could result in a lot of dollar savings, making large space observatories much more competitive.



#36 Pess

Pess

    (Title)

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,942
  • Joined: 12 Sep 2007
  • Loc: Toledo, Ohio

Posted 13 November 2019 - 02:09 PM

We need a mechanical monkey.

 

Note how Mars Insight is using its arm as a 'tool' to try and hammer down the heat probe.

 

Why not design the next 'Webb sized' project to have a mechanical monkey attached?

 

Couple of camera eyes. A tool pouch with an assortment of likely needed tools.  Maybe a shelf nearby with common spares?

 

Something sticks or jams or needs a new whatiz and ground controllers can order the monkey to move around the structure and make needed repairs.

 

Unstick jammed antennas (Galileo), Replace faulty gyros (Hubble), Double check math ( Mars Climate Orbiter..)

 

Pesse (Am I wrong thinking how helpful someone like 'Hector' from Saturn 3 would be?) Mist


Edited by Pess, 13 November 2019 - 02:18 PM.


#37 EJN

EJN

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,773
  • Joined: 01 Nov 2005
  • Loc: Between eigenstates

Posted 13 November 2019 - 03:00 PM

Who fixes the "mechanical monkey" when it breaks?
  • Pess and Crow Haven like this

#38 llanitedave

llanitedave

    Humble Megalomaniac

  • *****
  • Posts: 30,955
  • Joined: 25 Sep 2005
  • Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA

Posted 13 November 2019 - 06:36 PM

Monkeys are a dime a dozen!


  • Crow Haven likes this

#39 EJN

EJN

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,773
  • Joined: 01 Nov 2005
  • Loc: Between eigenstates

Posted 14 November 2019 - 03:51 PM

Monkeys are a dime a dozen!


Yes, and why use mechanical monkeys when you can train flying space monkeys which are known to congregate around the bacon mines on Triton.
  • Crow Haven likes this

#40 llanitedave

llanitedave

    Humble Megalomaniac

  • *****
  • Posts: 30,955
  • Joined: 25 Sep 2005
  • Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA

Posted 14 November 2019 - 11:11 PM

Yes, and why use mechanical monkeys when you can train flying space monkeys which are known to congregate around the bacon mines on Triton.

Sounds reasonable...



#41 FirstSight

FirstSight

    Duke of Deneb

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 15,506
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2005
  • Loc: Raleigh, NC

Posted 15 November 2019 - 09:38 AM

Thread temporarily locked to deal with matters that almost rhyme with "Humpty-Dumpty" instead of "Webb Telescope". Please, let's not go down that political rabbit-hole. 

 

Though I do truly challenge y'all to come up with a rhyme for "Webb Telescope", orange y'all up to the challenge? step.gif

 

Thread re-opened for discussion.



#42 FirstSight

FirstSight

    Duke of Deneb

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 15,506
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2005
  • Loc: Raleigh, NC

Posted 15 November 2019 - 10:23 AM

 

Don't they (moderators) read everything that gets posted?

 

Not if they want to remain sane.

When the CN staff selects new moderators, they screen for folks who are insane enough to take the job, but have it under control enough to still function.  But there aren't any among us mods with enough time to read *all* the comments and still have a life outside CN - we do catch lots of stuff on our own, but there's no way we could keep up with all the potential problems without the help of mod alerts from regular members.

 

Now back to your regularly scheduled discussion about the JWST.



#43 Pess

Pess

    (Title)

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,942
  • Joined: 12 Sep 2007
  • Loc: Toledo, Ohio

Posted 16 November 2019 - 07:35 AM

Sounds reasonable...

Back to the Webb telescope, just look over at the Insight Mars lander. They are basically doing exactly what I said: Using the scoop & camera arms as repair tools. Albeit, in an incredible inefficient manner.

 

At some point even having a simple articulated arm with multifaceted tools for something like the Webb telescope which is unreachable from Earth for repair (for all practical purposes). A jammed sunshade? We got that. 

 

I feel all the money, time and expertise invested in the Webb telescope is, at best, a 60:40 shot at working as designed enough to get good mission data.  Part of me feels the huge delays are Nervous Nellies wringing their hands trying to consider every possible failure scenario.  That's great, but time itself will multiply possible failure modes (as we found with Galileo probe.  

 

At a certain point, time becomes the enemy to success.

 

Don't get me wrong, I pray for a huge success from Webb, but realistically, we've seen simple things compromise missions: ie: Mars Orbiter, Galileo, Hubble.   

 

Sometimes you have to plan for failure. There does not appear to be any realistic contingency if even a simple thing compromises Webb.

 

Incidently, I hear that since the demise of the Wicked Witch of the West, there are a bunch of Winged Monkey's sitting on the Oz unemployment lines.

 

Pesse (Just say'n) Mist


Edited by Pess, 16 November 2019 - 07:46 AM.

  • Joe1950 likes this

#44 llanitedave

llanitedave

    Humble Megalomaniac

  • *****
  • Posts: 30,955
  • Joined: 25 Sep 2005
  • Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA

Posted 16 November 2019 - 10:49 AM

Back to the Webb telescope, just look over at the Insight Mars lander. They are basically doing exactly what I said: Using the scoop & camera arms as repair tools. Albeit, in an incredible inefficient manner.

 

At some point even having a simple articulated arm with multifaceted tools for something like the Webb telescope which is unreachable from Earth for repair (for all practical purposes). A jammed sunshade? We got that. 

 

I feel all the money, time and expertise invested in the Webb telescope is, at best, a 60:40 shot at working as designed enough to get good mission data.  Part of me feels the huge delays are Nervous Nellies wringing their hands trying to consider every possible failure scenario.  That's great, but time itself will multiply possible failure modes (as we found with Galileo probe.  

 

At a certain point, time becomes the enemy to success.

 

Don't get me wrong, I pray for a huge success from Webb, but realistically, we've seen simple things compromise missions: ie: Mars Orbiter, Galileo, Hubble.   

 

Sometimes you have to plan for failure. There does not appear to be any realistic contingency if even a simple thing compromises Webb.

 

Incidently, I hear that since the demise of the Wicked Witch of the West, there are a bunch of Winged Monkey's sitting on the Oz unemployment lines.

 

Pesse (Just say'n) Mist

I think JWST is a representative of a nearly bygone era.  Things are changing rapidly in what is possible in space, and it won't be too long before scientific packages adjust their designs to take advantage of these new realities.

 

I believe things will improve.


  • Joe1950 likes this

#45 Joe1950

Joe1950

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10,455
  • Joined: 22 Aug 2015

Posted 16 November 2019 - 11:43 AM

If the JWST is a failure, and it can be despite the checks and re-checks, it will not only be a ton of money lost, but the fallout from such loss could jeopardize confidence in future such enterprises and make funding next to impossible for a long time.

 

I’m hoping it is a complete success and the opposite happens, but I agree it is not a ‘slam dunk’ by any means. 

 

I have an unsettling feeling that the outcome of this endeavor may dramatically influence the future of such comprehensive and elaborate projects for years to come.

 

 

On the other side of the coin, there are several earth based telescopes and arrays in the process of construction that hold a lot of promise, using new technologies to peer through our turbulent atmosphere, reducing the ocean of negative effects. 

 

So what seemed impossible yesterday, seems less so as technology advances. 

 

But, the JWST, to my thinking represents more than just a pass/fail grade. It may be a paradigm shifting event in scientific exploration of the cosmos.


  • Pess likes this

#46 Lucullus

Lucullus

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 909
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2012

Posted 16 November 2019 - 12:44 PM

Scientific project not only mean e.g. some machine in the end - in this case the JWST -, but also technological innovation and material scientific advances. In the best case the broad society can benefit from these innovations being done to create said machine.

Assuming that JWST fails as a machine and does not collect or transmit scientific data, what technological and material scientific advances have been born through the JWST project that won't make it a complete failure?


Edited by Lucullus, 16 November 2019 - 12:44 PM.

  • Joe1950 likes this

#47 Joe1950

Joe1950

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10,455
  • Joined: 22 Aug 2015

Posted 16 November 2019 - 12:53 PM

I totally agree! The thing I’d question is would the media, the general public and those responsible for funding see it that way? It would be a hard sell to find a silver lining to present to those groups. 

 

But let’s hope that doesn’t happen! grin.gif



#48 Vesper818

Vesper818

    Astronomess

  • *****
  • Posts: 14,093
  • Joined: 21 Nov 2005
  • Loc: Right brain, Left Coast

Posted 16 November 2019 - 09:17 PM

James E Webb. 1906-1992.

I read that the entire telescope, that is the upper part with the mirrors, sensors et al, and the lower assembly, that being the light/heat shields, has now been assembled, and the entire scope is complete. However, interconenctive wiring, etc must be done and tested. Then complete systems testing will begin on the entire assembled spacecraft.

Launch is scheduled for March 30, 2021.

Perfect! That's my birthday 🎂!
  • Pess and Joe1950 like this

#49 Pess

Pess

    (Title)

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,942
  • Joined: 12 Sep 2007
  • Loc: Toledo, Ohio

Posted 17 November 2019 - 07:19 AM

If the JWST is a failure, and it can be despite the checks and re-checks, it will not only be a ton of money lost, but the fallout from such loss could jeopardize confidence in future such enterprises and make funding next to impossible for a long time.

 

I’m hoping it is a complete success and the opposite happens, but I agree it is not a ‘slam dunk’ by any means. 

 

I have an unsettling feeling that the outcome of this endeavor may dramatically influence the future of such comprehensive and elaborate projects for years to come.

 

 

On the other side of the coin, there are several earth based telescopes and arrays in the process of construction that hold a lot of promise, using new technologies to peer through our turbulent atmosphere, reducing the ocean of negative effects. 

 

So what seemed impossible yesterday, seems less so as technology advances. 

 

But, the JWST, to my thinking represents more than just a pass/fail grade. It may be a paradigm shifting event in scientific exploration of the cosmos.

 

 

Pesse (I fear your comment is too on-point) Mist


  • Joe1950 likes this

#50 Sleep Deprived

Sleep Deprived

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 433
  • Joined: 17 Apr 2019
  • Loc: Seattle Area

Posted 17 November 2019 - 03:14 PM

I think the odds of a complete failure (blow up on the pad, or failure to reach orbit, or something equally mission-ending) are pretty slim - not zero, but low.  I am talking strictly about odds of # of attempts compared to # of mission-ending failures over the last, say, 30 years.

 

Galileo and Hubble both had major problems, but (almost) no one would say either mission was a failure.  We dealt with the major problems.  Many, many missions have had problems where things didn't go as planned, but mission-ending failures (although sometimes spectacular, and very memorable in the public's psyche) are relatively scarce considering the cutting-edge technology that is being used.  Actually, 'technology' should probably be changed to 'technologies'.  We are doing stuff that has never happened before - this is the first multi-mirror telescope to be 'assembled' in orbit - so I would be surprised if it went problem-free.

 

What if JWST fails?  Well, what if the space shuttle Challenger fails?  What if the Mars Polar Lander fails?  Well, they did and we still flew the shuttle and still went back to land on Mars.  If JWST fails, there will be those people that come out and say we should re-evaluate our space program - they always do.  There will be investigations, and committees and arguments made for and against trying to do this again.  It will probably have an effect on NASA funding.  Will we have a follow-on Phoenix (Oops, that name has already been used to name a mission that WAS a replacement mission for a complete failure) JWST??  Ultimately, I expect we will.  The photos from Hubble are too compelling, and it is coming to the end of its life.  There are ICONIC photos from Hubble that Every Day Joes recognize and stare at in awe.  The timing of the Phoenix JWST mission would depend upon how (and how fast) NASA can line up funding for it.  Just as it has taken many years to build JWST, it will take many years to build a Phoenix JWST.  I WOULD< I grant you, take many years before that to get through the process of getting the funding.  I don't doubt a failed JWST would be replaced eventually.


  • Joe1950 likes this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics