So it seems a little strange that we are using such old technology. According to Dashevsky and Balzano, the language the script is written in is called Nombas ScriptEase 5.00e. According to Nombas’ (now defunct) website, the latest update to ScriptEase 5.00e was released in January 2003 — yes, almost 20 years ago. There are people who can vote for people who weren’t born when the software that controlled some of JWST’s most important instruments came out.
This knowledge is available on Hacker News and twitter The thread has been around for years, but it surprised quite a few of us here The Barge when you actually click on it. At first glance, it seems strange that such an important (not to mention expensive) scientific instrument would be controlled by a very old version of technology not particularly known for its robustness.
But if you think about it for a moment, the software age makes a little more sense — JWST started in late 2021, but the project has been in the works since 1989. When construction of the telescope began in 2004, ScriptEase 5 was only a little over two years old after launching in 2002, but the spacecraft was powered by proven technology, not the latest and greatest. is actually not particularly old, given that it is often supplied with Projects like JWST (literally) take time to get off the ground, so what needed to be rocked early on can look obsolete by more traditional standards as the launch date approaches.
By the way, the knowledge base also contains some details about the telescope’s 68 GB SSD, which it says can hold between 58.8 and 65 GB of real scientific data. wait, did i forget to say that? Yes, this telescope’s solid state drive has about the same capacity as was available in the original 2008 MacBook Air.
According to NASA documents, this method “provides operators with greater visibility, control, and flexibility in operating the telescope,” allowing scripting “as they learn the implications and subtleties of operating the instrument.” it will be easy to change. Essentially, NASA works with a set of files written in a human-readable format. If you need to make changes, open a text editor and type bundle Submit the updated file to JWST after you finish testing on the ground. It’s certainly easier (and therefore less error-prone) than if all your programs were written in arcane code and you had to recompile if you wanted to make a change.