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NASA Diagnosing New Issue With James Webb Telescope

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The ultracold camera of the James Webb Space Telescope has been affected by a technical problem that is forcing ground team members to postpone certain observations.

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The James Webb Space Telescope's Mid-Infrared instrument's (MIRI) grating wheel was affected. 

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This allows scientists to select the wavelength of light that they wish to focus on. 

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Only one of MIRI's four observation modes uses the wheel, medium-resolution spectrum (MRS), in which the camera does not take images but

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Light spectra, fingerprints of light absorption by the different chemical elements found in the objects.

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NASA officials released a statement on Tuesday (Sept. 20, 2017) in which they first noticed friction in the wheel. 

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They also stated that further investigation revealed that 

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The ground control teams had decided to suspend observations in the affected mode after continuing their investigations. 

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The statement also stated that the agency had convened an "anomaly review board" to assess the best way forward on Sept. 6.

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NASA officials stated that the Webb team had halted scheduling observations using this observing mode while they analyzed its behavior. 

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They are currently working on strategies to resume MRS observation as soon as possible. 

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