NASA Puts Football Through Same Paces as World's Most Advanced Space Telescope

  • Released Wednesday, February 1, 2017

While two football teams will be put to the test at Super Bowl LI in Houston, engineers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, are testing the most powerful space telescope ever built, the James Webb Space Telescope. To demonstrate all the shaking, quaking and super-chill temperatures the Webb telescope is going through, Goddard engineers did similar tests - with a football.

Being launched on a rocket creates high levels of noise and vibration, and once in orbit the Webb telescope will have to function under extreme temperatures. So NASA engineers are doing vibration, acoustics and other tests to ensure that the Webb telescope will function properly.

Once in orbit about 930,000 miles (1.5 million km) from Earth, the Webb telescope will provide images of the first galaxies ever formed and explore planets around distant stars. It is a joint project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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This page was originally published on Wednesday, February 1, 2017.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:47 PM EDT.