The Webb telescope recently underwent “eye surgery” at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Although the telescope doesn’t actually have eyes, the part of the telescope that sees deep into the universe was recently installed.
The installation of the sensitive MIRI (Mid-Infared Instrument) or the “eyes” required donning of a full protective suit in NASA’s clean room. Furthermore, the entire operation required a significant amount of planning. The MIRI weighs in at 181 lbs, and requires a team of engineers for the installation process. There is a lot riding on the success of this telescope, and the MIRI portion must be installed properly.
Disturbing MIRI would cost the mission the critical science that will help shape our knowledge of the universe, and push the boundaries of scientific discoveries. For that reason, precise engineering is key and that can put some of the engineers in awkward positions, literally.