The James Webb Space Telescope pleases mankind with its amazing photos of both the deep Universe and the nearby objects of our Solar System. We are surprised by the quality of the images received. But how is the telescope controlled and what commands do engineers and operators work with to give orders to JWST? If you are a programmer, then you will be surprised.
The NASA document says that the developed control system “gives personnel greater visibility, control and flexibility over telescope operations,” allowing them to easily change scenarios by learning the ramifications and subtleties of working with instruments. But a knowledgeable reader will still have a question – why this language? There are more convenient and attractive options: Python, C#, Rust, Ruby or Go.
However, there is an explanation why it happened. The development of the space telescope began a long time ago – in 2004. At that time, ScriptEase 5 was only two years old, so using this toolkit as sending commands seems quite natural. However, don’t worry, the script handler itself was written in a powerful and trouble-free C++ programming language.
Weaker than a smartphone
But this is not all that can surprise James Webb. As it turned out, the 10-billion-dollar tool is equipped with a file storage of only 68 GB. Yes, the solid-state drive of this telescope has about the same capacity that was in the original 2008 MacBook Air. It does not even compare with the iPhone 13, in which the memory capacity already starts from 128 GB. That is, the amount of the built-in JWST drive is even smaller than in your modern laptop or even smartphone.
Of course, the telescope itself is experiencing a lack of memory. On average, depending on the task and the intensity of observations, this entire volume can be filled in just 2 hours, so JWST is in constant communication with NASA specialists constantly uploading data to servers on Earth.
Earlier we reported on how the secret of James Webb’s bright photos was revealed.
According to The Verge
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