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

With the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) now powered up and snapping some – some of them huge captures – where does it put them all? On an SSD, of course. It’s a relatively tiny 68GB SSD, according to IEEE Spectrum, which is just enough to handle a day’s worth of JWST images ahead of broadcasting them back to Earth.

Why so humble in size? The JWST is a million miles from Earth, getting bombarded by radiation and temperatures of less than 50 degrees above absolute zero (-370 degrees F). So the SSD, like all other parts, must be radiation hardened. Samsung’s latest pro-level SSD might not cut it. Plus, 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 about enough storage.

-Mat Smith

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