James Webb Space Telescope Uses An SSD Even Smaller Than The PS5’s
Well beam me up Scotty, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has been transmitting the first images from deep space, showing the unimaginable vastness of our universe, and the movingly beautiful wonders of the cosmos. More powerful than Hubble, and offering major boosts in clarity and perception, it's also been revealed that the advanced space telescope uses a surprisingly tiny SSD to store the images it captures.
According to IEEE Spectrum (thanks Engadget), the James Webb Space Telescope contains an SSD with only 68 GB worth of storage. For comparison's sake, this means it wouldn't be enough to store even the operating system of a modern games console, with the PS5's 825 GB SSD having only around 670 GB of usable storage.
The James Webb telescope cost $10 billion, which is nearly the same cost as a PS5 2 TB M.2 SSD, but jokes aside you might've thought NASA could've afforded a bigger storage drive. However, since the satellitie is out there in the harsh expanse of space there were special considerations.
To begin with SSDs can be more sensitive and fragile than the older spinning hard disk drives in general, even without having to cope with the rigours of space, and those handling them should be careful of zapping them with electricity (such as from static build up). But the JWST is located a million miles from Earth where it is subject to radiation bombardments and has to operate in temperatures as low as -370 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, the SSD used for the telescope has undergone a rigorous certification process and has been designed to withstand radiation.
The telescope is also greatly improved compared to its Hubble predecessor as it has much faster data transmission speeds. The JWST is sending data back to Earth on a 25.9-gigahertz channel at up to 28 megabits per second and can collect 57 GB worth of data per day compared with Hubble's 1-2 GB per day. It takes about 4.5 hours for JWST's data to reach Earth.
Therefore the size of the telescope's SSD isn't so consquential as it can beam the data back during two four-hour contact windows each day, meaning only a day's worth of storage is required onboard. However, NASA predicts that only 60 GB of storage will be available in 10 years, and three percent has to be left for engineering and telemetry data.
This gives JWST not much room to maneuver, but those NASA types are pretty smart so hopefully it should all work out and JWST can go for as long as its predecessor, as the Hubble telescope is still working after 32 years. Meanwhile, make sure your PS5 doesn't take off and melt during this summer's heatwaves, and thank the stars there isn't space radiation to contend with.
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