The Morning After: The 68GB SSD floating inside the James Webb Space Telescope

·Bureau Chief, UK
·3 min read
NASA

With the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) now powered up and snapping some spectacular images – some of them huge captures – where does it put them all? On an SSD, of course. It’s a relatively tiny 68GB SSD, according to IEEE Spectrum, which is just enough to handle a day's worth of JWST images ahead of broadcasting them back to Earth.

Why so humble in size? The JWST is a million miles from Earth, getting bombarded by radiation and temperatures of less than 50 degrees above absolute zero (-370 degrees F). So the SSD, like all other parts, must be radiation hardened. Samsung’s latest pro-level SSD might not cut it. Plus, JWST sends data back to Earth much faster than Hubble – up to 57GB in the four hours it’s in range each day. It seems like just about enough storage.

-Mat Smith

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