NASA's next-generation space
observatory successfully watched a moving asteroid as the telescope inches towards the end of its six-month commissioning period.
The successful tracking of
a nearby object shows that the James Webb Space Telescope can keep a watch on solar system objects
It can also track the
distant galaxies, stars and other faraway objects it is expected to observe in its perhaps 20-year lifespan.
As NASA move forward through
commissioning, IT will test other objects moving at various speeds to verify it can study objects with Webb that move throughout the solar system,
Webb's ability to see nearby
targets will allow it to observe everything from icy objects in the Kuiper Belt, to potentially habitable moons circling the gas giant planets of our solar system, the agency noted.
The asteroid selected for
the observing exercise was 6841 Tenzing, a main belt asteroid named after Tenzing Norgay.