Navigation Links
Amazing minaturized 'SIDECAR' drives Webb telescope's signal

Many technologies have become so advanced that they've been miniaturized to take up less space and weigh less. That's what happened to detector controls and data conversion electronics on the James Webb Space Telescope being built by Northrop Grumman.

The electronics will convert analog signals to digital signals and provide better images to Earth.

These components, called a "SIDECAR" have been miniaturized from a volume of about one cubic meter (35.3 cubic feet) to a small integrated circuit.

SIDECAR ASIC means "System for Image Digitization, Enhancement, Control And Retrieval Application Specific Integrated Circuit." This tiny advanced low-noise, low-power microprocessor-based control chip was designed by Teledyne Imaging Sensors, Thousand Oaks, Calif. to convert the analog signals (which is what television stations currently broadcast) into digital signals (which television stations will broadcast starting Feb. 2009). Like televisions, the Webb telescope is getting several of those converter boxes." Digital signals can be easily transmitted and stored.

There are also several benefits to the extreme miniaturization of the SIDECAR. Further, it's about the size of a half-dollar and can do the same job as an electronics box weighing 20 pounds. It's smaller weight also makes it easier to launch.

"In addition, a smaller SIDECAR enables the ASIC to be physically close to the detector it is controlling. This close proximity minimizes the distance the analog signal travels, thus reducing the noise of the system," said Matt Greenhouse, Integrated Science Instrument Module Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

The three instruments that will use the SIDECAR on the Webb telescope are the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam), Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec), and the Fine Guidance Sensors (FGS). These instruments all use highly sensitive infrared detectors to study distant stars, planets, and galaxies. SIDECAR will sit next to each of these detectors like a sidecar on a motorcycle, and the microprocessor will control these infrared detectors.

SIDECAR will convert the analog signals from the infrared detectors into digital data which is much more robust and easier to transmit. Without the SIDECAR, the analog signals might be corrupted in transmission and the science images would be lost or damaged.

"The significant technical advancement in the SIDECAR is its very low noise - the analog to digital conversion is nearly perfect, adding no significant noise to the image; and its very low power - the SIDECAR consumes only 11milliwatts of power," said Markus Loose, lead designer of the SIDECAR at Teledyne. Low consumption of power is important for keeping the telescope's science instruments cold (37 Kelvin or minus 400 Fahrenheit) as they collect faint signals from objects near the edge of the universe.

It's important to make sure SIDECAR is fully functional before it goes into the Webb telescope, so it's already being used to improve astronomy on the ground.

Astronomers are "test-driving" four SIDECARs that were installed in early 2007 in the University of Hawaii's 2.2 meter telescope on Mauna Kea. Since then they have been collecting science data and giving scientists experience in operating the SIDECAR so that its performance is optimal by the time that the Webb telescope flies.

The concept for the SIDECAR was proposed in June 2000 through a program for Webb telescope technology development by the University of Hawaii and Teledyne Imaging Sensors, formerly the Rockwell Science Center. After seven years, the SIDECAR passed an important milestone in 2007 when an independent review team concluded that the technology had been shown to be ready for use on the Webb telescope. That test confirmed that SIDECAR could handle the radiation, vacuum, and the cold of the space environment.

As a result of SIDECAR's success in the review and in ground-based telescopes other missions are planning to use it, and there's a plan to install it in the Hubble Space Telescope in 2008.


Contact: Rob Gutro
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Related biology technology :

1. Amazing Treatment Relieves Serious Back Pain Without Dangerous Drugs, Injections or Surgery!
2. Tethered to chip, energy supply that drives sperm could power nanobot
3. T-ray breakthrough signals next generation of security sensors
4. Signalife & Athletes Foundation Dispatch Mobile Health Center to Super Bowl
5. AMEX Notifies Signalife that It Will Need to Comply with Minimum Stockholders Equity Requirement
6. Signalife Presence at XIII World Congress on Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology
7. U.S. Patent 7,299,083 Awarded to Signalife
8. Signalife Receives FDA Clearance for OTC Non-Prescription Event Recorder Device
9. Signalife Continues to Procure Purchase Orders, Revenues
10. NFL Hall of Fame Legend Fred Biletnikoff Joins AFL/Signalife Cardiovascular Protection Team
11. Signalife Receives Another $3.3 Million Sales Orders
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Amazing minaturized 'SIDECAR' drives Webb telescope's signal
(Date:12/1/2015)... , Dec. 1, 2015  CardioCell LLC, a ... stem cells for cardiovascular indications, intends to proceed ... based on recommendations from a Heart Failure Advisory ... Scientific Advisory Board members . In a ... Phase IIa safety and efficacy data from CardioCell,s ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... backed, age-defying products, is featured as the cover story and throughout Success ... unrivaled opportunities that Nerium provides. Success from Home magazine routinely features successful ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... -- Dr. Harry Lander , President of Regen, expands ... Science Officer and recruits five distinguished scientists to ... President of Regen, expands his role to include ... five distinguished scientists to join advisory team --> ... include serving as Chief Science Officer ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , December 1, 2015 ... addition of the  "2016 U.K. Virology and ... Forecasts for 100 Tests, Supplier Shares by ...  report to their offering.  --> ... the  "2016 U.K. Virology and Bacteriology Testing ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:10/29/2015)... Calif. , Oct. 29, 2015  The J. ... new report titled, "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned ... the Department of Health and Human Services guidance for ... in 2010. --> ... it also has the potential to pose unique biosecurity ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  Connected health pioneer, ... driving the explosion of technology-enabled health and wellness, and ... new book, The Internet of Healthy Things ... sensors or smartphones even existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, ... of health care delivery, moving care from the hospital ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... , Oct. 27, 2015 In the present ... of concern for various industry verticals such as banking, ... to the growing demand for secure & simplified access ... ,sectors, such as hacking of bank accounts, misuse of ... equipment such as PC,s, laptops, and smartphones are expected ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):