As the pieces of the James Webb Space Telescope – the next-gen replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope – come together, there's plenty of excitement in the astronomy community, but as Nature reports, there is plenty of anxiety as well. Webb, scheduled for launch in 2014, simply has to work.
NASA engineers working on the James Webb Space Telescope are doing a lot of things from scratch — they’ve had to design new mirrors and a foldy space cocoon, for instance — but their newest work may take the cake: To survive the coldest reaches of space, they invented a brand-new composite material. They nicknamed it unobtanium.
When it becomes the successor to the illustrious Hubble later this decade, the James Webb Space Telescope's infrared eye will peer further into the edges of space (and time) than any telescope before it. But while the real thing is undergoing final construction at Northrop Grumman HQ, an exact 1:1 scale model has been touring the world, giving us a chance to get close to a realistic representation of an unconventional-looking spacecraft that will soon be the source of the most amazing images of the cosmos we've every seen.
We paid a visit to the JWST in Lower Manhattan's Battery Park city. Take a look at our photo gallery to see more:
The Kepler Space Telescope made headlines last week when it was announced that the planet-hunting instrument has already found its first five exoplanets. Researchers at MIT, however, think they can do better.
NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth (UCO/Lick Observatory and the University of California, Santa Cruz), R. Bouwens (UCO/Lick Observatory and Leiden University) and the HUDF09 Team
After nearly two decades and five servicing missions to repair and update its precision observation equipment, the Hubble Space Telescope is still pushing the envelope of astronomical observation, most recently by snapping this image, the deepest image ever taken of the universe. Taken over four days in late August 2009, this newly released composite image allows researchers to see farther back toward the Big Bang than ever before.
When it comes to space, what goes up must be sturdy, safe and secure if it's to live very long. Satellites must survive the bone-rattling jostle and pressure of launch, and once they reach orbit, they've got to weather the vast temperature changes they experience with every sunrise and sunset. Their skins must be thick enough to survive pummeling by micro-debris, and they'd better have trusty gyroscopes to be able to change directions or keep their balance.
As NASA prepares for the launch of the last Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission next week, astronomers are already anticipating the construction and 2013 launch of the beloved observatory's successor.
In the coming weeks, engineers will wrap up testing the segments of the primary mirror on the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA's newest space-bound observatory. Like astronomer Allan Sandage, it will pick up where Hubble left off -- by studying the redshifted galaxies speeding away from us, in an attempt to understand the nature of the accelerating universe and its origins.
These 10 telescopes won't just revolutionize our understanding of the cosmos, theyâ€™ll change everything we think a telescope can be
By William Speed WeedPosted 03.31.2005 at 1:00 pm 1 Comment
We´ve never known
more about the universe than we do right
now-and that´s precisely the problem.
Every significant astronomical discovery of
the past 50 years-afterglow from the
big bang, evidence of dark matter,
planets circling distant stars, just to name a few-has helped to create an ever-larger and more perplexing set of cosmic questions: Is there life on those faraway planets? How
did the first stars form after the big bang?
The James Webb Space Telescope is slated to launch in 2010.
By Katie GreenePosted 12.12.2002 at 2:25 pm 0 Comments
NASA is searching for the first sunrisethat long-ago time when the first generation of stars ignited, flaring into life out of the uniform drabness that followed the Big Bang. The James Webb Space Telescope (named for the man who headed NASA in the 1960s) boasts a collapsible 20-foot mirror that will gather infrared light, unlike its predecessor the Hubble, which collected visible light. This will make the Webb far more able to catch rays from the universe's earliest stars.