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

With the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) now up and taking some shots – some of them huge – where is it taking them all? Of course on an SSD. It’s a relatively small 68GB SSD, noisy IEEE spectrumwhich is just enough to process the JWST images one day before sending them back to Earth.

Why so modest in size? Located a million miles from Earth, JWST is bombarded by radiation and temperatures less than 50 degrees above absolute zero (-370 degrees F). The SSD, like all other parts, must therefore be radiation-hardened. Samsung’s latest pro-level SSD might not make it. Also, 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 enough memory.

– Mat Smith

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