Revolutionary space observatory closer to completion - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Revolutionary space observatory closer to completion

source: NASA source: NASA

Astronomy buffs might be a little more excited this week knowing that the James Webb Space Telescope is coming along really nicely. This large orbiting observatory will be key to so many astronomers over the next 10 years. It will study the very fabric of our universe from the big bang to the possibility that life may exist on other worlds. Think of it as a spiritual successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. This exciting project will launch from French Guiana in October of 2018.

What's really exciting about this project is the brand new technology that has been exclusively developed for JWST. A giant mirror (that has just been installed this past week) can fold into 18 different segments and re-shape after launching. The high-resolution images that will be taken from this will be able to be captured from every angle imaginable. A tennis court sized five-layer sun-shield that attenuates heat from the Sun more than a million times is the biggest feature the JWST will have. On-board instruments such as cameras and spectrometers will be able to record up to 100 images at once and detect even the faintest of signals. 

Because of the time it takes light to travel, the far-reaching site of the JWST will allow us to get closer than ever to unlocking some of the "secrets" of the universe. As this project gets closer to being on-line, we'll have more updates.

The James Webb Space Telescope or JWST was named after a former NASA administrator, James Webb.

Meteorologist Andrew Kozak

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