James Webb telescope helps improve technology

The James Webb Telescope delivers fantastic images of space like we've never seen before.

“It's a new window into the history of our universe,” President Joe Biden said during the unveiling of the first photos.

The telescope has exceeded scientists' expectations for what they learn and see. Some of the latest discoveries involve three galaxies that may be actively forming.

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“Some of the most beautiful things you've seen,” said administrator Bill Nelson. “We have discovered how stars are formed… We now have pictures of the death of stars. We are beginning to understand what black holes are, these things that are so violent in their gravity that they suck everything into them, including light. There is so much that we don't know, but things like the James Webb Space Telescope just add to our knowledge of who we are and what we are and where we are.”

Technology has improved our vision of space while helping to improve the vision of millions of people on Earth.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said the James Webb Space Telescope adds to “our knowledge of who we are and what we are.” (Getty Images)

“We had to understand how to make and polish these mirrors perfectly and understand the curvature,” said Daniel Lockney, director of the NASA Technology Transfer Program. “Johnson and Johnson had to understand how to do precision work on an eyeball.”

The optics at James Webb have helped improve the technology in the Lasik Eye Surgery system.

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“The optics of that are just phenomenal,” Lockney said. “Anything that now uses high-quality optics can benefit from these advances.”

NASA says the technology has helped improve cameras and virtual reality headsets.

NASAs-James-Webb-Space-Telescope-Releases-First-Images

In this photo provided by NASA, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope reveals Stephan's Quintet, a visual grouping of five galaxies, in a new light on July 12, 2022 in space. This enormous mosaic is Webb's largest image to date, spanning about a fifth of the moon's diameter. It contains more than 150 million pixels and is made up of almost 1,000 individual image files. Webb's information provides new insights into how galactic interactions may have driven the evolution of galaxies in the early universe. (NASA, ESA, CSA and STScI via Getty Images)

“That's the transfer of what we do in our research and development into everyday life, which benefits the lives of people here on earth,” Nelson said.

Although space is a common storyline in the best Hollywood films, it is now part of every Academy Award. The same gold used in Webb is now also used for Oscar statues. Gold is highly reflective and does not discolor or change over time. This makes it the perfect metal for the space. NASA partner Epner Technology began using the same Webb gold in awards in 2016.

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“Every discovery is a new, fundamental way of doing things. And how do you get from here to there?” Nelson said. “Once we learn that, we know we can do something different in the way we approach something.”

Scientists are unable to repair or maintain the James Webb telescope, so they needed the right software and testing to ensure it would last.

“James Webb Space Telescope is a truly fascinating example of human progress. It has truly pushed the boundaries,” said Kevin Flood, president of Government Initiatives at Ansys. “When you have a system like that, everything that supports the design and operation of that system has to level up at the same time.”

President-Biden-previews-first-images-from-Webb-space-telescope

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with leaders of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) before viewing the first images from the new Webb Space Telescope at the Eisenhower Executive Office Buildings South Court Auditorium on July 11, 2022 in Washington, DC. According to NASA, the telescope images are the highest resolution images of the infrared universe ever captured. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Ansys makes simulation software that helps companies prepare for possible scenarios their products may encounter.

“They had to consider all the possible paths they could take to get the satellite into its unique orbit, and then make sure it stayed there,” Flood said.

Ansys software has since helped improve simulation across the industry. The technology is used in microchips, satellite systems and medical devices.

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“Right now there's almost nothing we can't simulate, which is very valuable for space applications because the harsh space environment is difficult to replicate in physical testing when done on Earth,” Flood said. “It's pulling everyone forward at the same time. And James Webb is a great example of how the community really came together, both nationally in the U.S., but also globally.”

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