Maximum Efficiency and Minimization of Ground Systems
Then the fact that the space telescope is controlled by such old technology seems a little strange, since the last update of ScriptEase 5.00e was released in 2003. Many people born in 2003 already have families of their own and some weren't born yet when software capable of controlling the critical systems of the James Webb Space Telescope appeared. This news has excited people all over the world, just google “JWST Twitter” and you will see it.
Debugging in Deep Space
“There was a time at which it was supposed to do something and that time came and went and it didn’t do the thing it was supposed to do. And alarm bells rang… Now this code that’s been proven deadlock-free seems to be frozen 150 million miles from home. We had no idea what was going on… And everything that we did when we decided to do something, we would do it and then we’d sit around and wait an hour for the result.” — NASA programmer Ron Garret remembers debugging LISP in Deep Space.
After the whole team reached a consensus, it was necessary to carry out a series of bureaucratic actions, and only after that all these changes were transmitted via cable to 70-meter wide antennas connected to the Deep Space network, which transmitted commands at the speed of light.
The telescope was launched in 2021, but such projects take decades to develop and some technologies are introduced at an early stage, so some of them seem outdated to us by modern standards.
Technological development does not stand still, for example, your smartphone can hold up to 512 gigabytes of data, and for 80 years this is simply unimaginable amounts of memory, in turn, a JWST hard drive can hold 58-60 gigabytes of data. Your smartphone has 8.5 times the data capacity of the world's most expensive $6.5 billion telescope! So the next time you surf the internet, remember that the programming language your browser runs in is capable of launching spacecraft into space.