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Webb Telescope instrument completes cryogenic testing


The Mid-Infrared Instrument, a component of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. Photo by NASA/RAL.

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA (BNS): A pioneering camera and spectrometer that will fly aboard NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has completed cryogenic testing designed to mimic the harsh conditions it will experience in space.

The Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) underwent testing inside the thermal space test chamber at the Science and Technology Facilities Council's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Space in Oxfordshire, UK.

The sophisticated instrument is designed to examine the first light in the universe and the formation of planets around other stars, NASA said.

A team of more than 50 scientists from 11 countries tested MIRI for 86 days, representing the longest and most exhaustive testing at cryogenic temperatures of an astronomy instrument in Europe prior to delivery for its integration into a spacecraft.

Along with the Webb telescope's other instruments, MIRI will help scientists better understand how the universe formed following the Big Bang and ultimately developed star systems that may be capable of supporting life.

The Webb telescope is a partnership between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

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