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回顾过去As the James Webb Space Telescope heads toward its launch date, 为该项目做出贡献的威尼斯电玩数十名教职员工和校友正在等待13.50亿年前.Bob马克特
Rendering of James Webb Space Telescope; 罗彻斯特大学 faculty and alumni had lead roles on the telescopeAN EYE ON THE EARLY UNIVERSE: An artist’s rendering shows the fully deployed James Webb Space Telescope as the 美国国家航空航天局 observatory will appear when it reaches its orbit about 1 million miles from Earth. 计划于今年晚些时候推出, 该望远镜被设计成30年哈勃太空望远镜的继任者. 新天文台将能够捕捉到远至13年前的数据.50亿年前, when galaxies and stars were first forming. (照片:美国国家航空航天局)

当詹姆斯·韦伯太空望远镜传回第一批图像时,吉姆·费厄纳普已经知道会发生什么.

一所大学的社区努力

以下是一些为Webb项目做出贡献的大学社区成员的样本:

The Optical Product Integrity Team was cochaired by Duncan 摩尔 ' 74(博士), the Rudolf and Hilda Kingslake Professor in Optical Engineering Science, 还有69年的吉姆·怀恩特(博士), 21(荣誉), founding dean of what is now the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona.

Other members included Jim Fienup, the Robert E. Hopkins Professor of Optics; Greg Forbes, a former optics professor; Roy Frieden ’66 (PhD); and Robert Shannon ’54, ’57 (MA), 00(荣誉).

1983年,Laryssa Sharvan Densmore在诺斯罗普·格鲁曼公司指导机械空间产品和制造, the prime contractor for the Webb project. 除了, 理查德Rifelli 74, ’77 (MS) has served as a lead systems engineer at Northrop Grumman, 本·维斯04年(博士), a systems 工程 lead at the company, 将在巴尔的摩的特派团行动中心的控制台担任响应协调员.

Lee Feinberg ’87 is the optical telescope element manager, and Joe Howard ’00 (PhD) is the lead optical designer. 他们是43个光学学院之一, 学生, and alumni who have contributed to Webb, according to David Aronstein ’02 (PhD), who wrote a chapter about their involvement for an update of optics professor Carlos Stroud’s history of the Institute of Optics, 王冠上的宝石. Aronstein, a former optical scientist at 美国国家航空航天局, also worked on Webb.

“They’ll look horrible,” says the Robert E. Hopkins Professor of Optics at Rochester.

也难怪. 有史以来最大的, 14,300磅的, 太空望远镜必须像折叠桌子一样折叠起来,才能装进阿丽亚娜火箭里, then endure a bone-jarring liftoff later this year to reach orbit 940,距离地球近七百公里,在月球之外000英里的地方.

When Webb is deployed—when the telescope is unfolded, along with a sun shield nearly the size of a tennis court—the primary telescope’s 18 hexagonal mirrors will be out of alignment.

Fienup解释说:“它们会偏离很远,可能只差一毫米。. “So, we’ll start getting these images that are horribly blurred.”

Only after the mirrors are aligned to within one-ten-thousandth of a millimeter will Webb be able to transmit what no human has ever seen before—remarkably clear infrared images from 13.50亿年前, when galaxies and stars were first forming.

这种工程上的奇迹——这种纯粹体积和精确程度的精妙平衡——在很大程度上要归功于Fienup. And to scores of other Rochester faculty members, 学生, and alumni who have contributed to the project.

Fienup and his team of PhD 学生 developed the phase retrieval algorithms that can be used to finely tune the 18 hexagonal mirrors. The algorithms will compare the blurry images of a bright reference star taken by the telescope to how the star should actually appear—and adjust seven actuators on each of the mirrors accordingly.

以防使用算法的美国国家航空航天局团队遇到意想不到的困难, Fienup and his 学生 will be standing by with even more robust algorithms they’ve developed specifically for worst-case scenarios.

To fully understand why the Webb telescope is so unique—and why Fienup and two other key contributors with Rochester ties became involved in its development—you first need to need to understand what happened with Webb’s predecessor.

哈勃:威尼斯电玩有个问题

哈勃太空望远镜于1990年发射,用超过1个望远镜彻底改变了天文学.在它31年的运行中,对恒星、星系和行星进行了400万次观测.

然而, the initial images that the Hubble telescope sent were blurry. 不像韦伯预想的“可怕”的最初图像,哈勃的“近视”是没有预料到的. 美国国家航空航天局, coming off the Challenger space shuttle explosion four years earlier, faced a public relations disaster as politicians questioned the agency’s competency and comedians made the telescope a butt of their jokes.

Duncan 摩尔 ' 74(博士), the Rudolf and Hilda Kingslake Professor in Optical Engineering Science, was vacationing in Maine when he got a call from 美国国家航空航天局 to fly to Washington, DC, for a one-day meeting of experts to help figure out what went wrong.

“It seemed like there were a gazillion people there,” 摩尔 recalls. 这个问题很快被追踪到镜子制造过程中的校准错误. 摩尔 ended up chairing the Hubble Independent Optical Review Panel, 它的形成是为了确定镜子的形状如何不同于规格,并纠正它. 尽管面临着很高的技术难度、政治阴谋和严格的预算限制,该委员会还是成功了.

Fienup, then a scientist at the Environmental 研究 Institute of Michigan, 也发挥了重要作用. He led a project that helped determine the telescope’s exact aberrations by using phase retrieval algorithms to analyze Hubble’s blurred images.

87年的李·范伯格, an Institute of Optics graduate who began working for 美国国家航空航天局 in 1991, helped conduct independent optical tests of the corrective optics and new instruments that were eventually installed on Hubble by space shuttle astronauts in 1993.

摩尔的贡献, Fienup, 在建造哈勃望远镜的时候,范伯格将被美国国家航空航天局铭记.

罗彻斯特大学 alumni with the James Webb Space TelescopeCRITICAL VISION: “For an optical engineer, the project was about as interesting as one could ever imagine,” says 美国国家航空航天局’s Lee Feinberg ’87 (left), who has held one of the Webb’s most important leadership roles. 在诺斯罗普·格鲁曼公司, the prime contractor for the telescope, 1983年,Laryssa Sharvan Densmore指导超过200人从事与web相关的项目. [Photo: 美国国家航空航天局 (Feinberg); Northrop Grumman (Densmore)]

韦伯:下一代望远镜

甚至在哈勃发射之前, 天文学家和工程师开始考虑下一代太空望远镜.

With a primary mirror surface area more than six times larger than Hubble’s, Webb will have even greater light-gathering power and sensitivity for discerning faint stars and galaxies at the edges of time. 不像哈勃, which gathers images primarily at visible and ultraviolet wavelengths, 韦伯将收集红外图像.

That’s important because the first luminous objects that formed in the universe emitted ultraviolet and visible light that has been stretched by the universe’s expansion so that it reaches us today as infrared light. With its enhanced ability to detect infrared light, Webb will be able to peer even further back in time.

然而,该望远镜需要保持在零下370华氏度以下才能捕捉到红外图像. 来完成,, the telescope must orbit at a point nearly one million miles from Earth, 在那里它可以不受太阳、地球和月球的光线的照射.

The distance is too great for Webb to be serviced as easily and efficiently as Hubble was by space shuttle astronauts. 因此, 美国国家航空航天局 must test every aspect of the Webb to launch even more carefully this time—and even at cryogenic temperatures.

摩尔, who had recently completed a stint as associate director for 技术 in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, was named cochair of the Webb Telescope Optical Product Integrity Team in 2002 to help ensure that no shortcuts were taken. Fienup later joined him on the panel.

Feinberg, who had left 美国国家航空航天局 to work with a start-up company, was lured back shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. 韦伯得到了一大笔资金, 和约翰·马瑟, 最终的诺贝尔奖得主, 是项目科学家, 范伯格说. 对于一个光学工程师来说,这个项目非常有趣.”

2001年,范伯格被任命为韦伯项目最重要的领导角色之一. He had no idea it would turn into a 20-year commitment.

威尼斯电玩的Jim Fienup教授,他曾在詹姆斯·韦伯太空望远镜工作James Fienup(照片:J. 亚当窗口)
威尼斯电玩的邓肯·摩尔教授,他曾在詹姆斯·韦伯太空望远镜工作Duncan 摩尔(照片:J. 亚当窗口)

韦伯:濒临危机,成本上升

As Webb’s optical telescope element manager, Feinberg has overseen the overall development of the telescope, including three critical technologies: lightweight mirrors, 轻量级的低温结构, 波前传感和控制. He also cochaired a review board that chose beryllium as the material for the primary mirror and has been a significant contributor to the telescope flight and test architectures.

Feinberg proudly recalls how he and his team “worked crazy hours” to develop the new technologies in three and a half years. 镜子的实际制造, 由多个承办商完成, kept him “traveling all over the country” for eight years, “figuring out how we were testing the mirrors, 他们将如何一起工作, and dealing with both management and 工程 at the same time.”

他最重要的贡献, 范伯格说, 成功地计划和监督了望远镜及其光学系统的低温测试吗. The ultimate testing took place in 2017 in a 90-foot-tall chamber at Johnson Space Center originally used for testing the Apollo spacecraft in the 1960s.

Just as cryostable temperatures were reached, Hurricane Harvey slammed into Houston with devastating force. 120名来自世界各地的工程师和科学家共同付出了“惊人的团队努力”,才使测试得以继续, Feinberg后来说. Four team members who owned “big Texas pickup trucks” shuttled people to and from the facility every 12 hours. 该团队必须处理泄漏,一些人睡在地板上,以防止对飞行硬件的风险. Through it all, the optics performed admirably.

然而, 在所有的成功中, 越来越, demoralizing chorus of public criticism began in 2010 as the costs of the Webb project began to escalate dramatically.

“在一件事情上如此努力,感觉威尼斯电玩做了那么多正确的事情,这很困难, only to get a lot of negative publicity for the increased cost,范伯格说:.

韦伯值得吗?

2017年4月, 邓肯·摩尔从马里兰州的戈达德太空飞行中心向威尼斯电玩城游戏下载发送了一张照片. 这条信息写道:“我站在詹姆斯·韦伯太空望远镜前——哈勃的替代品. It is leaving Goddard in two weeks for testing at Johnson SFC. 我从2002年开始研究这款游戏,当时游戏发行日期是2009年,价格是1美元.5B!”

美国政府问责局(US Government Accountability Office) 5月份发布的一份报告估计,成本为9美元.70亿年. The report also cited yet another delay in the scheduled launch because of “anomalies” with the launch vehicle.

即使在2002年, 摩尔很清楚, Fienup, and Feinberg that 美国国家航空航天局 had severely underestimated costs given the daunting scope of the project and the 工程 challenges it entailed.

范伯格说:“我认为在早期就有一些希望的想法。. “I had it in my mind that this is going to be a lot harder than they think.

“然而,请记住,这是美国宇航局建造的第一架轻型、分段式望远镜. 没有路线图. 威尼斯电玩必须发明几乎所有的东西,从如何建模,到如何测试. 你如何估算成本呢当你在创造的时候?”

尽管如此, even fellow scientists in the field have expressed concerns that 美国国家航空航天局 is putting too many eggs in its Webb basket, 以其他项目为代价.

马丁猫王, an astrophysicist at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, argued that “the dominance of a single mission like Webb can be a bad thing” in an interview with Scientific American in 2018. “It fosters a ‘too big to fail’ syndrome, 因为它不能失败你不能用取消来威胁它, and people err on the side of caution to ensure it will succeed. More caution means more testing and more money, which you must provide to avoid failure, and so you get a feedback loop of inflating costs.”

那么,韦伯值得吗?

福利的“韦伯”

和大多数“大科学”项目一样, the research and development on the Webb telescope has helped lead to other discoveries as scientists have worked to address the challenges of such an ambitious undertaking.

Since joining the Institute of Optics in 2002, Fienup has received 16 years of continuous funding from 美国国家航空航天局, 总计超过1美元.600万美元,其中大部分用于为韦伯项目开发更鲁棒的相位检索算法. 他的六个博士生的论文都是基于与韦伯有关的研究. 他的五个学生后来去了美国宇航局戈达德太空飞行中心工作.

毫无疑问,美国其他大学也获得了类似的福利.

范伯格还列举了其他好处. 这个项目, 例如, is “exciting young people into STEM [science, 技术, 工程, 和数学)字段,”他说. 如果韦伯表现如预期, 286实验和观察, proposed by scientists from around the world, will be performed with the telescope during its first year of operation.

“真正令人震惊的是,每一次观察都让人感觉它可能有自己的使命,范伯格说:. 从这个角度, 他说, 韦伯的成本, when weighed against the cost of launching nearly 300 separate missions, 变得更加合理.

摩尔 says he can understand why critics might disagree. “We have so many social things that we need to be doing. When you compare Webb to programs that cost in the trillions, 100亿美元, 如果这是最终的成本, 看起来是小菜一碟. 但是100亿美元是一大笔钱.”

作为一名工程师, 然而, 摩尔说,他“对韦伯将给威尼斯电玩提供的回溯更久远的时间的能力感到非常兴奋。.”

So are other members of the University community who are both grateful and proud that they’ve been able to contribute.

“参与这样重大的活动是一个千载难逢的机会,” says mechanical 工程 alumna Laryssa Sharvan Densmore ’83, who is director of space products and manufacturing at Northrop Grumman, 韦伯的主要承包商. “Webb will change the way we see the galaxies, 展开威尼斯电玩的过去, 打开威尼斯电玩对天文学的科学理解之门, 天体物理学, 以及威尼斯电玩在这个宇宙中的位置.”

光学毕业生Richard riphelli, 74年毕业, 1977年(MS)自2002年以来一直担任诺斯罗普·格鲁曼望远镜的首席系统工程师. “To witness the development of this unique observatory from a concept to a fully functioning observatory has been remarkable,”他说. “能和这么多有才华的人在这个项目上合作真的是一种荣誉.

“科学将是惊人的!”

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