James Webb Space Telescope Captures The Depths Of Our Universe On A 68GB SSD

The James Webb Space Telescope is now up and running and it’s sending some really breathtaking imagery along the way.


NASA

Looking at the images, and the level of detail captured, it’s difficult to not wonder what each file’s size would be and how is the space telescope storing and transmitting them.

And a new report by IEEESpectrum (highlighted by Engadget) has revealed that its onboard storage is more humble than you’d imagine.

How does James Webb work on 68GB SSD?

The James Webb Space Telescope is actually loaded with a rather tiny 68 GB Solid State Drive and at a time it can only handle one day’s worth of images.

It does sound rather tiny for something that’s expected to capture such high-definition imagery for years to come, but NASA has put some thought into it.

For starters, the space telescope is a million miles away from Earth. At this spot, it’s bombarded by radiation while working at -50 degrees Celsius. This thus required the SSD to be radiation hardened and pass a rather difficult certification process.

Even though it’s not as fast as the SSDs we can buy off the shelf today, it can be filled in just 120 minutes via the telescope’s 48Mbps command and data handling subsystem. Moreover, the space telescope is also capable of transmitting data back to Earth at 28Mbps using a 25.9GHz Ka-band connection to the Deep Space Network.

This basically means that the satellite, even though it collects far more data than the Hubble, it also is able to transfer all of that back to Earth in just 4.5 hours. This occurs during the four-hour contact window, every day, each permitting transmission of 28.6GB of scientific data.

The James Webb Space Telescope Captures The Depths Of Our Universe On A 68GB SSD
NASA

Essentially it only needs enough space to collect a day’s worth of images and doesn’t really require additional data storage on the telescope.

The James Webb Space Telescope has a life of just ten years, and by the end of its life, only 60GB of storage will be available due to wear and radiation.

Three percent of this will be used for engineering and telemetry data storage, leaving very little room, which only makes us think if it will go on to live as long as Hubble, which despite its 32-year lifespan is still kicking just fine.

For more in the world of technology other sciencekeep reading Indiatimes.com

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