Episode 3 July 21, 2022 Stargazing in prehistoric times and peering thru the mists of time with a new space telescope 

Going back to Ancient Mesopotamian pre-astronomy and the influence of ancient god worship, then jumping to the present successful images received from the NGST...the Next Generation Space Telescope. Some history about this new space telescope, some of the materials used to create the mirrors of the telescope and looking at some NASA research continuing that enables us to understand what to be prepared for in our future.

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Babylonian Astronomy 


About the Iranian Calendar 

Astrology & Astronomy in Iran and Ancient Mesopotamia 

By: Massoume Price, December 2001 


Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn were identified by ancient Babylonian astronomers in the 2nd millennium BC.[7 (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_discovery_of_Solar_System_planets_and_their_moons#cite_note-Sachs_1974-7 

Enki - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 


Babylonian astronomers tracked Jupiter 


Prehistoric Europe 

Main article: Archaeoastronomy 


What is Mesolithic? 


The Senior Project Scientist for the NGST is Dr. John C Mather, an American astrophysicist & cosmologist. https://www.jwst.nasa.gov/content/meetTheTeam/people/mather.html 

History: https://esahubble.org/news/heic9901/ 

Riccardo Giacconi, first director (1981) of STSci. See history: https://www.stsci.edu/who-we-are/our-history 

Giacconi suggested the followup to the Hubble space telescope… 

Early days & originators: (Pierre Bely, Peter Stockman) 


U of Ca. https://www.ucobservatories.org/ 

Mission timeline: https://webbtelescope.org/webb-science/the-observatory/mission-timeline#:~:text=Engineers%20and%20astronomers%20innovated%20new,on%20Webb%20began%20in%202004. 

NASA announced in September 2021 that they would not rename the mission, Space.com reported. 


Google search for “james webb, sexist, racist” 


Who was James Webb? Why do scientists want to rename the James Webb Space Telescope? 



People who could not become astronomers. 
The Firing of Clifford Norton 
Many astronomers feel that the telescope should be renamed the Harriet Tubbman telescope, in honor of a black woman who used the stars to navigate the way to freedom for many former black slaves who were escaping capture and persisting in their goal of finding freedom from persecution, prejudice and its associated evils.  
People who were removed from their positions as astronomers (as state dept people were removed during the Lavender Scare) 
People who research history of space science/travel, etc., but who are not listened to by NASA 
The primary user group of this telescope is AAS American Astronomical Society. They were not consulted on the naming of the telescope 

Letter from President of AAS, Paula Szkody to Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator 


As this telescope  

…and they object to the naming of the telescope after a Cold Warrior with a connection to actions which led to many non-binary people losing their positions and worse, committing suicide in some cases. 

Launch Streamed live on Dec 25, 2021 

This mission launched at 7:20 a.m. EST (12:20 UTC), Dec. 25, 2021, aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. (YT stream https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nT7JGZMbtM 

Updates: https://www.jwst.nasa.gov/content/webbLaunch/whereIsWebb.html 

The James Webb Space Telescope 


Technologies used on the JWST, developed by ESA people. 

NIRSpec stands for Near-InfraRed Spectrograph 


MIRI, the Mid-InfraRed Instrument 


Ariane 5 ECA (Evolved Cryogenic, model A) launcher 

The rocket & all of the ‘launch services’  

Developed by CSA people 


Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS) & Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) 

The telescope itself… 

Ball Aerospace & Technologies is the principal optical subcontractor for the JWST project, led by prime contractor Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, under a contract from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Maryland.[35][36] The mirrors, plus flight spares, were fabricated and polished by Ball Aerospace & Technologies based on beryllium segment blanks manufactured by several companies including Axsys, Brush Wellman, and Tinsley Laboratories.[37] 

Who or what is NASA? We will explore in a future episode the history of NASA 


Mining the beryllium used for the mirrors 


OSHA webpage on beryllium 

U of Arizona mining &...https://miningsh.arizona.edu/sites/default/files/documents/Beryllium%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf 

Luckily, it seems the mining of the beryllium seems to produce less lethal concentrations of the element than in other industries where it is processed. https://www.msha.gov/sites/default/files/Alerts%20and%20Hazards/HH%20Cards/HH-32%20Beryllium%20Hazards.pdf 

Where does it come from?https://beryllium.com/about-beryllium/sources-of-beryllium 

It seems that Materion, the main producers of beryllium in the USA got the message about inclusion and fairness in the workplace, if their website truly represents the situation ‘on the ground’. This is really important, since there are very few sources for this incredibly important element! 

However, looking over Indeed comments, “...No advancement for females 

Mill Hand (Current Employee) - Shoemakersville, PA - September 18, 2018 

Its already hard for women in a man's world. This place will not look at abilities. The "good old boys club" thing really does exist. And incompetantcy is heralded over a solid work ethic…” 

The overall reviews on Indeed show that women have much poorer opinion of their experience working for this company than men do. Not surprising since only 25% of the workforce there is female.  

1.2 Personal Development 

2.1 Career Opportunities 

2.4 Family Support 

On the whole, Materion gets a solid mediocre, or you might say, middle of the road review from the averaged reviews submitted by employees of the company. You can check out the latest reviews from employees on Indeed https://www.indeed.com/cmp/Materion/reviews?start=80 

Usw Pro Act https://www.usw.org/blog/2020/silencing-corporate-bulliesa 

Unfortunately, though Materion is one of a very small number of companies providing the space and other industries (mobile phones, etc.) with beryllium, only about half of their employees seem to recommend the experience, and I haven’t found any evidence of successful unionization, which usually results in better salaries and benefits for employees of unionized companies, which of course helps their families and/or children and significant others to live healthy, successful lives. 

Follow Tereza Pultarova on Twitter @TerezaPultarova. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.  


image art courtesy of Ball Aerospace

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