The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which has a remarkable sensitivity to infrared light emanating from the Red Planet, has taken its first pictures of Mars.
At the Europlanet Science Congress(opens in new tab) (EPSC) 2022, the first photos and spectra of Mars from the James Webb Space Telescope were shown on Monday, September 19. On September 5, 2022, JWST took the pictures and measurements from its approximate million-mile (1.6-million-kilometer) distance from Mars.
The images of Mars' observable disc, or the side of the planet facing the telescope that is illuminated by the sun, were taken by Webb's Near-Infrared Camera (opens in new tab) (NIRCam).
They could offer planetary scientists a distinctive perspective of Earth's close neighbor and deliver data that can be used with observations made by rovers like NASA's Perseverance and objects in the Martian orbit.
It is not the simplest object for the JWST, designed to observe extremely distant and dim objects, to see because Mars is quite close and highly bright.
NASA Planetary Systems Laboratory at Goddard Space Flight Center scientist and leading investigator Giuliano Liuzzi remarked in an EPSC news conference to accompany the photos, "Mars is so brilliant that the question is how to view it."
Scientists utilized extremely brief exposures to study Mars to avoid blinding the JWST's equipment with its intense infrared radiation. Consequently, just a portion of the light that reached the JWST's detectors was measured, and the data were subsequently processed using unique techniques.
"We have the infrared diffraction limit of a satellite telescope, which is excellent, and we can observe this superb resolution, and we can see the entire earth, "Liuzzi went on.
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