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Saw the world’s largest “clean room” yesterday… somewhere Martha Stewart gasped

July 8, 2011

Imagine going to work in a gigantic room with 9,000 square feet of HEPA (high efficiency particulate absorbing) filters… the most high powered and largest quantity of these filters anywhere in the world.  And then imagine you’re going to work on the James Webb infrared telescope… a project that will be launched in 2014 and will be able to see back to when the first stars formed after the Big Bang.

World's largest "clean room"

That’s NASA’s clean room, located at the Goddard Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.  The image shown here actually contains the Hubble telescope, but today it is used to build the James Webb telescope (what was once called the NGST (Next Generation Space Telescope).

The one catch about working there– NO deodorant, no makeup, no perfume, no NOTHING.  Eeks!  Folks who work on the telescope have to go through an “air shower” to make sure that all of their “contaminants are washed off”.  If any particles get inside the room, it could mess up the lenses on the telescope causing us to think we’re looking at stars when in fact it’s our own grossness!  That’s why this room is 1000x cleaner than a hospital operating room. WOW!  Now let me tell you readers: aside from the fact that I have ZERO math and science capabilities, I could never work there.  No deodorant or eyeliner?  Uh uh.. nooo thanks.  I’ll leave that to the brainiacs who wear tacky Hawaiian shirts.

I think Martha Stewart and I will just gaze admirably from the outside and make little sandwiches with decorative napkins for when they need to take a break :]

For more information on this incredible project, go to http://www.jwst.nasa.gov/.

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