Inside the James Webb Space Telescope is a solid-state drive with a storage capacity of only 68 GB. Compared to commercially available models, this is significantly more powerful, and more capacity is not necessary for operation.
The first images from the new James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) were released this week, giving a very impressive view of space. Compared to previous space telescopes such as Hubble, JWST should offer much more possibilities, which is also due to more modern technology. However, according to a report by Tom’s Hardware website, JWST’s storage capacity is small compared to current hardware.
Accordingly, the new space telescope has only 68GB of SSD memory, which is referred to as a “solid-state recorder”. For comparison: these amounts of storage have been available on a microSD card for a long time, and SSDs of current consumers often have a capacity of several terabytes. But there are good reasons for the apparent difference. This includes lifetime, for example: the contract to build the telescope was signed in 2003, and assembly was completed in 2016.
As the name “Solid State Recorder” shows, the memory installed in the James Webb telescope is not a standard SSD. Instead, the combined model must be “space ready,” which means a very high level of reliability as well as much higher requirements for radiation resistance. In addition, long-term data storage on JWST is not desirable at all: images must be sent to Earth for analysis anyway.
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According to the report, JWST requires about 2 GB of storage for technical and standard data, as well as up to 58.8 GB of image data generated per day. However, the latter can be moved twice a day and then deleted, so that the memory does not necessarily need to be larger.
The 68GB SSD’s remaining memory buffer acts as a failover protection. Within ten years, by the time the James Webb Telescope is scheduled to be retired, the usable memory size will be reduced to about 60 GB due to defects, so that the current buffer can store almost the entire daily data set.
Source: Tom’s Hardware via PC Gamer
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