The mirror that will allow the James Webb Space Telescope to study never-before-seen corners of the cosmos is the bulwark of the most powerful telescope in history. James Webb, a joint collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, has a large mirror ( 6.5 meters wide ) composed, in turn, of 18 smaller mirrors that will allow scientists to measure light from galaxies very, very far away.
Aside from its hexagonal shape, another thing that stands out about this telescope is the shiny gold color of its mirror . Why do I pray? Because gold is incredibly reflective, so as not to lose photons in observations. Apparently Webb's mirrors are 98% reflective.
Of course, they are not solid gold, but are covered with a layer of gold (the truth is that they are made of beryllium , which is a strong but quite light metal). Each piece weighs about 20 kilos on Earth.
Webb is scheduled to launch into space on December 24 from the Guiana Space Center, or Europe's spaceport, in Korou, French Guiana.