James Webb Space Telescope update. “Profoundly changed the way I see the universe”. Update May 13th with new photo.

Cowbell Man

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Webb is now just shy of two thirds there based on distance but it is slowing down. Speed is down to just under a third of a mile per second, down from the peak at 1.5 mile / sec. So it will take over two more weeks to reach the L2 orbital point.
So not warp, but maybe impulse….and definitely not ludicrous speed.


Awesome updates! Thanks!
 

The Spin Meister

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So not warp, but maybe impulse….and definitely not ludicrous speed.


Awesome updates! Thanks!
You are quite welcome. Thread has a lot of views but few comments so hope people enjoy the updates. I have not seen a single update on any news channels or in papers. Shame as this thing has tremendous potential.

BTW, the secondary mirrors are fully deployed and locked into place. Onward to the main mirrors!
 

royboy

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So not warp, but maybe impulse….and definitely not ludicrous speed.


Awesome updates! Thanks!
Yeah, looking at current speed of .2964 miles/second, that converts to approx. 1067 miles/hour, not fast for most space travel

Sorry, if this has been asked before, but will the Webb basically glide into place or is there a need for maneuvering? Does it have tools for propulsion, deceleration, course changes, etc.?
 
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The Spin Meister

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Yeah, looking at current speed of .2964 miles/second, that converts to approx. 1067 miles/hour, not fast for most space travel

Sorry, if this has been asked before, but will the Webb basically glide into place or is there a need for maneuvering? Does it have tools for propulsion, deceleration, course changes, etc.?
It has it own propulsion system and has had two burns since separation from the second stage. It will do one more burn when it reaches the L2 point. Also has boosters to keep it in orbit and proper alignment.

When launched, it was thought to have enough fuel for a minimum of five and up to ten years. But last week NASA announced that the intial launch by the Arain rocket was so accurate that they expect to have enough fuel for a minimum of tens years. Plus, they are working on a potential robotic rocket that could reach out and refuel the satellite should it be desirable to do so.

In a phone conference call yesterday they’re were discussing the heat shield and said that over time it will degrade from space dust and micrometeorites. So in ten to fifteen years it may no longer be fully functioning. But since space at this distance is so unknown it may last much longer. Of course, with some bad luck, it could get hit by a larger one sooner!
 
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cvilleelkscoach

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Yeah, looking at current speed of .2964 miles/second, that converts to approx. 1067 miles/hour, not fast for most space travel

Sorry, if this has been asked before, but will the Webb basically glide into place or is there a need for maneuvering? Does it have tools for propulsion, deceleration, course changes, etc.?
The craft is slowing down as expected due to "traveling uphill" due to the pull of gravity. This will also limit the breaking demand to get into the L2 orbit insertion.
 

Fayette_LION

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You are quite welcome. Thread has a lot of views but few comments so hope people enjoy the updates. I have not seen a single update on any news channels or in papers. Shame as this thing has tremendous potential.

BTW, the secondary mirrors are fully deployed and locked into place. Onward to the main mirrors!
I come to BWI for my Webb news. Thanks for posting as it's easy to find and very informative
 
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DELion

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25 years and $10 billion of investment is about to be showcased in the next several days as the sun shield deployment begins. There are 300 single points of failure in that sequence that will make or break the James Webb Space telescope. I found a 30 minute video of the incredible engineering that went into its creation.
Thanks for posting this very informative video. The James Webb telescope is a true marvel of science and engineering. Of particular interest to me, it's great to see time-tested products like Kapton(r), Kevlar(r) and Nomex(r) from my old company DuPont playing such a key role in the design.
 

The Spin Meister

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Now the James Web Space Telescope is fully deployed! All the instruments, equip, and mirrors are now locked into their proper positions and functioning properly. Some 300 mission critical events have been completed. The JWST is reported to be in excellent shape and meeting all expectations.

It has now travelled over 3/4 of the way to its Legrange point distance wise but just about half way there time wise as it is slowing down as it is still being pulled by Earth’s gravity. It has one last rocket burn scheduled in two weeks to insert into its final L2 orbit. An interesting tidbit......it will not be stationary at the actual L2 point but orbit around that point. Don’t ask me.....call Mr Urshell for an explanation!

The next stage is to align all eighteen segments of the primary mirror. Each mirror was locked into a launch position to protect it during launch. Each mirror has actuators that will properly align the mirror to act as one single massive mirror. NASA can also alter the curvature of each mirror so that proper focus can be attained in these extreme conditions. Also, this adaption would help overcome any errors in the mirrors such as happened with the Hubble.

This stage will take ten days or more and will be about the only activity until the final burn. So there will likely be few updates until then. It’s been a fun couple weeks, so glad it all went well.

And in the web page below is supposed to be a link to a video explaining how the mirror focusing process works but for some reason the link won’t even display for me. If some one could get it and link the video here I would appreciate it. There is also a good explanation of the past days events there. Thanks!

 

tlbakernc

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Thanks for the updates! I’m dying to see images from this beast. It’s almost scary to see what this thing will see/find.
 

The Spin Meister

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Thanks for the updates! I’m dying to see images from this beast. It’s almost scary to see what this thing will see/find.
I also Thank You. It's going to be very interesting at what the Webb will discover and uncover.
Here is a good article on it’s instrumentation and what it will be searching for. Far more than an infrared telescope!

 
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The Spin Meister

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Webb 80% there. Probably will be last update for a while as the deployment is complete and a very long fine tuning of mirrors is next. Glad people enjoy the updates as this is world changing stuff.

But while waiting for John Urschell to call and explain the L2 orbital dynamics to me I found this video. After watching it three times I almost understand it!

 

Fayette_LION

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Here is a good article on it’s instrumentation and what it will be searching for. Far more than an infrared telescope!

Thanks again, replying just to keep this info near the top pages. I'm surprised they did not design an autonomous detachable rocket that could bring it to low earth orbit for maintenance if required. Maybe the future scientists will work on these types of issues.
 

The Spin Meister

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Saw an explanation about how sensitive the JWST is and why it has to be at near absolute zero Temp. Said if you look at a bright star from earth, your eye will receive around a million photons of light per second from that star. The Webb will be receiving around one photon per second to makes it images!
 
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The Spin Meister

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Been a while. So they are slowly moving the 18 mirrors from the launch position to operational position. Each one has to move about an half inch but each is moved about only millimeter per day. That’s gonna take ten days or so.

They have four thermometers recording temperatures, two on hot side two on cold side. On the cold side the temps have dropped considerably since deploying the heat shield and will continue to drop for months. And that temp drop will require additional refocusing of the mirrors.

They have a critical rocket burn coming up on the 26th to place the JWST in its final L2 orbit. After that will be testing, focusing, and adapting the scope to its designed functions.

 

wkosmann

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An interesting tidbit......it will not be stationary at the actual L2 point but orbit around that point. Don’t ask me.....call Mr Urshell for an explanation!

Fascinating thread. Thanks. Pitching in as a "Subject Matter Expert", with a degree in Astronautical Engineering from MIT, two advanced degrees in System Engineering (GWU), and 46.5 years in the space business, with the last 15 or so architecting new NASA space science missions.

The Sun-Earth L1, L2, and L3 Lagrange points are not stable. Explicitly, a massy body at L1, L2, or L3 is in unstable equilibrium. Any force exerted on it moves it away, and it will not return. This means that one cannot simply travel to Sun-Earth L1, L2, or L3, as one would simply drift away over time. The easiest, least expensive (in propellent) alternative is to orbit about Sun-Earth L1, L2, or L3. Past Sun-Earth L1 missions have used one of two types of orbits: halo or Lissajous. The former orbit type is further away from the Lagrange point. The latter orbit type is closer. JWST will use a halo orbit about the Sun-Earth L2 point, as it has lower propellent costs than a Lissajous orbit.

To be complete, massy bodies at Sun-Earth L4 and L5 are in stable equilibrium. A massy body at either of those points is in stable equilibrium. A force (up to a point) acting on the body will not cause it to move away.

I'll leave the mathematical derivation of the unstable equilibrium of the Sun-Earth L1, L2, and L3 points (and the stabile equilibrium of the Sun-Earth L4 and L5 points) to Dr. Urshell, when he choses to chime in on this thread. :)
 

The Spin Meister

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Fascinating thread. Thanks. Pitching in as a "Subject Matter Expert", with a degree in Astronautical Engineering from MIT, two advanced degrees in System Engineering (GWU), and 46.5 years in the space business, with the last 15 or so architecting new NASA space science missions.

The Sun-Earth L1, L2, and L3 Lagrange points are not stable. Explicitly, a massy body at L1, L2, or L3 is in unstable equilibrium. Any force exerted on it moves it away, and it will not return. This means that one cannot simply travel to Sun-Earth L1, L2, or L3, as one would simply drift away over time. The easiest, least expensive (in propellent) alternative is to orbit about Sun-Earth L1, L2, or L3. Past Sun-Earth L1 missions have used one of two types of orbits: halo or Lissajous. The former orbit type is further away from the Lagrange point. The latter orbit type is closer. JWST will use a halo orbit about the Sun-Earth L2 point, as it has lower propellent costs than a Lissajous orbit.

To be complete, massy bodies at Sun-Earth L4 and L5 are in stable equilibrium. A massy body at either of those points is in stable equilibrium. A force (up to a point) acting on the body will not cause it to move away.

I'll leave the mathematical derivation of the unstable equilibrium of the Sun-Earth L1, L2, and L3 points (and the stabile equilibrium of the Sun-Earth L4 and L5 points) to Dr. Urshell, when he choses to chime in on this thread. :)
Great to have an expert on board! I believe we have several satellites at L1, including the SOHO solar observatory. Are there any at L2 where the JWST is headed? A couple LaGrange points have natural bodies there....captured comets, asteroids and/or meteors. Seems like these maybe crowded spots to park a critical and very expensive piece of equipment.

Maybe since L2 is unstable perhaps it is a safer parking spot with less debris. Are there other satellite there so that we have an idea of how dirty spaces is there?
 

wkosmann

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Great to have an expert on board! I believe we have several satellites at L1, including the SOHO solar observatory. Are there any at L2 where the JWST is headed? A couple LaGrange points have natural bodies there....captured comets, asteroids and/or meteors. Seems like these maybe crowded spots to park a critical and very expensive piece of equipment.

Maybe since L2 is unstable perhaps it is a safer parking spot with less debris. Are there other satellite there so that we have an idea of how dirty spaces is there?
There have been and are many satellites at both Sun-Earth L1 and L2. Currently at L2 are the ESA Gaia and Russian-German Spektr spacecraft. Lots of future planned missions to L2. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_objects_at_Lagrange_points) I don't believe there are any natural massy bodies at Sun-Earth L1, L2, or L3. Recall, these are unstable equilibrium points. A natural massy body would have to have a way to generate a force to first establish an orbit about L1, L2, or L3, then maintain that orbit over time. Spacecraft do that with propulsion subsystems. Natural massy bodies do not have their own propulsion subsystems.

L4 and L5 points support massy bodies in stable equilibrium, and can collect "debris" (comets, asteroids, meteors, Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs), Death Stars, etc.). Any two massy bodies, with one in orbit about the other have 5 Lagrange points So there are Sun-Earth L4 and L5 points, capable of collecting stuff. There are Jupiter-Sun L4 and L5 points, capable of collecting stuff. (The Trojan "asteroids" are at Jupiter-Sun L4 and L5. The Lucy mission, just launched on October 16, is on its way to both Jupiter-Sun L4 and L5, on successive helio-centric orbits about the Sun, to study some of the stuff that has been collected there.) There are Saturn-Sun L4 and L5 points, capable of collecting stuff. (The Centaur "asteroids" are at Saturn-Sun L4 and L5. I worked on a recent proposal to send a spacecraft by at least one of these points, to study the stuff that had been collected there. Unfortunately, that proposal was not selected for full mission development.)
 
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The Spin Meister

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There have been and are many satellites at both Sun-Earth L1 and L2. Currently at L2 are the ESA Gaia and Russian-German Spektr spacecraft. Lots of future planned missions to L2. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_objects_at_Lagrange_points) I don't believe there are any natural massy bodies at Sun-Earth L1, L2, or L3. Recall, these are unstable equilibrium points. A natural massy body would have to have a way to generate a force to first establish an orbit about L1, L2, or L3, then maintain that orbit over time. Spacecraft do that with propulsion subsystems. Natural massy bodies do not have their own propulsion subsystems.

L4 and L5 points support massy bodies in stable equilibrium, and can collect "debris" (comets, asteroids, meteors, Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs), Death Stars, etc.). Any two massy bodies, with one in orbit about the other have 5 Lagrange points So there are Sun-Earth L4 and L5 points, capable of collecting stuff. There are Jupiter-Sun L4 and L5 points, capable of collecting stuff. (The Trojan "asteroids" are at Jupiter-Sun L4 and L5. The Lucy mission, just launched on October 16, is on its way to both Jupiter-Sun L4 and L5, on successive helio-centric orbits about the Sun, to study some of the stuff that has been collected there.) There are Saturn-Sun L4 and L5 points, capable of collecting stuff. (The Centaur "asteroids" are at Saturn-Sun L4 and L5. I worked on a recent proposal to send a spacecraft by at least one of these points, to study the stuff that had been collected there. Unfortunately, that proposal was not selected for full mission development.)
Interesting stuff in your link. Gonna take some time to digest it all. Thanks.
 

Woodpecker

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There have been and are many satellites at both Sun-Earth L1 and L2. Currently at L2 are the ESA Gaia and Russian-German Spektr spacecraft. Lots of future planned missions to L2. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_objects_at_Lagrange_points) I don't believe there are any natural massy bodies at Sun-Earth L1, L2, or L3. Recall, these are unstable equilibrium points. A natural massy body would have to have a way to generate a force to first establish an orbit about L1, L2, or L3, then maintain that orbit over time. Spacecraft do that with propulsion subsystems. Natural massy bodies do not have their own propulsion subsystems.

L4 and L5 points support massy bodies in stable equilibrium, and can collect "debris" (comets, asteroids, meteors, Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs), Death Stars, etc.). Any two massy bodies, with one in orbit about the other have 5 Lagrange points So there are Sun-Earth L4 and L5 points, capable of collecting stuff. There are Jupiter-Sun L4 and L5 points, capable of collecting stuff. (The Trojan "asteroids" are at Jupiter-Sun L4 and L5. The Lucy mission, just launched on October 16, is on its way to both Jupiter-Sun L4 and L5, on successive helio-centric orbits about the Sun, to study some of the stuff that has been collected there.) There are Saturn-Sun L4 and L5 points, capable of collecting stuff. (The Centaur "asteroids" are at Saturn-Sun L4 and L5. I worked on a recent proposal to send a spacecraft by at least one of these points, to study the stuff that had been collected there. Unfortunately, that proposal was not selected for full mission development.)
Pardon my ignorance but are there bodies that are not massy? I've never heard that adjective before and the term "massy body" seems redundant.
 

The Spin Meister

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There have been and are many satellites at both Sun-Earth L1 and L2. Currently at L2 are the ESA Gaia and Russian-German Spektr spacecraft. Lots of future planned missions to L2. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_objects_at_Lagrange_points) I don't believe there are any natural massy bodies at Sun-Earth L1, L2, or L3. Recall, these are unstable equilibrium points. A natural massy body would have to have a way to generate a force to first establish an orbit about L1, L2, or L3, then maintain that orbit over time. Spacecraft do that with propulsion subsystems. Natural massy bodies do not have their own propulsion subsystems.

L4 and L5 points support massy bodies in stable equilibrium, and can collect "debris" (comets, asteroids, meteors, Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs), Death Stars, etc.). Any two massy bodies, with one in orbit about the other have 5 Lagrange points So there are Sun-Earth L4 and L5 points, capable of collecting stuff. There are Jupiter-Sun L4 and L5 points, capable of collecting stuff. (The Trojan "asteroids" are at Jupiter-Sun L4 and L5. The Lucy mission, just launched on October 16, is on its way to both Jupiter-Sun L4 and L5, on successive helio-centric orbits about the Sun, to study some of the stuff that has been collected there.) There are Saturn-Sun L4 and L5 points, capable of collecting stuff. (The Centaur "asteroids" are at Saturn-Sun L4 and L5. I worked on a recent proposal to send a spacecraft by at least one of these points, to study the stuff that had been collected there. Unfortunately, that proposal was not selected for full mission development.)
Good link. Surprised at how many probes and satellites have been sent to various LaGrange points. And they started going to them long ago. Also interesting how probes can be manipulated....spend considerable time at some point and then be sent off to Jupiter or some other far off location.

Here is a link just on Lagrange points. Lots of maths involved!

 
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Fayette_LION

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Good link. Surprised at how many probes and satellites have been sent to various LaGrange points. And they started going to them long ago. Also interesting how probes can be manipulated....spend considerable time at some point and then be sent off to Jupiter or some other far off location.

Here is a link just on Lagrange points. Lots of maths involved!

Looks like that is right up Urschel's alley
 
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wkosmann

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Pardon my ignorance but are there bodies that are not massy? I've never heard that adjective before and the term "massy body" seems redundant.
"Are there bodies that are not massy?"

Probably not. It's just me being anal and explicit. Two bodies with mass, one orbiting about the other, is what creates the 5 Lagrange points.

Also, I figured that if I just used the term "body", on this forum there might be lots of other interpretations as to what that meant......................
 
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royboy

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Props to Joseph-Louis Lagrange (1736 -- 1813) for whom these Lagrange points are named.

From Wiki:

Joseph-Louis Lagrange[a] (born Giuseppe Luigi Lagrangia[5]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph-Louis_Lagrange#cite_note-7 or Giuseppe Ludovico De la Grange Tournier;[6][c] 25 January 1736 – 10 April 1813), also reported as Giuseppe Luigi Lagrange[7] or Lagrangia,[8] was an Italian mathematician and astronomer, later naturalized French. He made significant contributions to the fields of analysis, number theory, and both classical and celestial mechanics.

Lagrange was one of the creators of the calculus of variations, deriving the Euler–Lagrange equations for extrema of functionals. He extended the method to include possible constraints, arriving at the method of Lagrange multipliers. Lagrange invented the method of solving differential equations known as variation of parameters, applied differential calculus to the theory of probabilities and worked on solutions for algebraic equations. He proved that every natural number is a sum of four squares. His treatise Theorie des fonctions analytiques laid some of the foundations of group theory, anticipating Galois. In calculus, Lagrange developed a novel approach to interpolation and Taylor theorem. He studied the three-body problem for the Earth, Sun and Moon (1764) and the movement of Jupiter's satellites (1766), and in 1772 found the special-case solutions to this problem that yield what are now known as Lagrangian points. Lagrange is best known for transforming Newtonian mechanics into a branch of analysis, Lagrangian mechanics, and presented the mechanical "principles" as simple results of the variational calculus.
 

tlbakernc

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Read an article that experts, assuming NASA/scientist, are speaking with religious leaders to discuss the impact of finding life on other planets. Have a feeling they are preparing us for what’s to come. I’m beyond excited to see images and hear of new discoveries. Thanks again for updating the tread. Really appreciate you keeping me informed of the progress.
 

The Spin Meister

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Read an article that experts, assuming NASA/scientist, are speaking with religious leaders to discuss the impact of finding life on other planets. Have a feeling they are preparing us for what’s to come. I’m beyond excited to see images and hear of new discoveries. Thanks again for updating the tread. Really appreciate you keeping me informed of the progress.
One of things they are hoping to find is complex organic compounds that indicate life on an exoplanet. If they do, it will kick off a huge debate about it being life based or some kind of organic soup. Will be interesting for sure.

And late today NASA tweeted out that all eighteen mirrors are now in their proper alignment! The last big hurdle is the rocket burn to place the JWST in its proper orbit around the L2 point. That’s now scheduled for Sunday, the 23rd.

Then it will be a few months of testing systems, allowing the scope to cool to operating temp, and fine focusing the mirror segments to act as one very large mirror. The temp is now down to -340 F!
 
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tlbakernc

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Out of curiosity how pliable is gold at -340 degrees? We all know gold has a low melting point but does it remain flexible at that low of temps. How much curvature adjustment is needed. Are we talking millimeters or centimeters, something less?
 

Woodpecker

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Out of curiosity how pliable is gold at -340 degrees? We all know gold has a low melting point but does it remain flexible at that low of temps. How much curvature adjustment is needed. Are we talking millimeters or centimeters, something less?
Some astrophysicists (or geometry people) can correct me but I think 1 second of angle translates into billions of light years at the distances that the Webb will be observing so I gotta figure that we're talking nanodegree adjustments.
 

The Spin Meister

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Some astrophysicists (or geometry people) can correct me but I think 1 second of angle translates into billions of light years at the distances that the Webb will be observing so I gotta figure that we're talking nanodegree adjustments.
Each of the mirrors can be moved with incredibly fine precision, with adjustments as small as 10 nanometers (or about 1/10,000th of the width of a human hair)

Out of curiosity how pliable is gold at -340 degrees? We all know gold has a low melting point but does it remain flexible at that low of temps. How much curvature adjustment is needed. Are we talking millimeters or centimeters, something less?
The gold is only a few layers of atoms thick. It is on some space age material that flexes at these temps.
 

The Spin Meister

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There have been and are many satellites at both Sun-Earth L1 and L2. Currently at L2 are the ESA Gaia and Russian-German Spektr spacecraft. Lots of future planned missions to L2. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_objects_at_Lagrange_points) I don't believe there are any natural massy bodies at Sun-Earth L1, L2, or L3. Recall, these are unstable equilibrium points. A natural massy body would have to have a way to generate a force to first establish an orbit about L1, L2, or L3, then maintain that orbit over time. Spacecraft do that with propulsion subsystems. Natural massy bodies do not have their own propulsion subsystems.

L4 and L5 points support massy bodies in stable equilibrium, and can collect "debris" (comets, asteroids, meteors, Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs), Death Stars, etc.). Any two massy bodies, with one in orbit about the other have 5 Lagrange points So there are Sun-Earth L4 and L5 points, capable of collecting stuff. There are Jupiter-Sun L4 and L5 points, capable of collecting stuff. (The Trojan "asteroids" are at Jupiter-Sun L4 and L5. The Lucy mission, just launched on October 16, is on its way to both Jupiter-Sun L4 and L5, on successive helio-centric orbits about the Sun, to study some of the stuff that has been collected there.) There are Saturn-Sun L4 and L5 points, capable of collecting stuff. (The Centaur "asteroids" are at Saturn-Sun L4 and L5. I worked on a recent proposal to send a spacecraft by at least one of these points, to study the stuff that had been collected there. Unfortunately, that proposal was not selected for full mission development.)
There are at least two captured Trojan ‘massy bodies’ orbiting in the L4 region. One is called 2010 TK7 and is about 300 feet across. It has a very large orbit around L4.


And the second is 2020 XL5. Less is known about it since it is a recent discovery. But estimates in about 10,000 years a near encounter with Venus will pull it out of its L4 orbit. Thats something we can all look forward to!