NASA has done incredible things to ensure that the US remains a key player in the study and exploration of outer space since its foundation in 1958. From sending people to the moon to sending high-tech rovers in the space, it sometimes becomes hard to believe that their technology has gone so much ahead. A new invention is on its way to change everything that we thought we knew. Witnessing what NASA is expecting to do, can fill you up with some serious space-based excitement.
From launching the Space Shuttle Program to the first-ever moon landing, the track record of NASA speaks for itself. Even after the ‘space race’ has ended, the people who are working there are ready to bring in something incredible. It took them many years and billion dollars but James Webb Space Technology (JWST) has been completed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
JWST is made up of 18 hexagonal mirrors, each one is plated with gold. It has 100 times more observing power than the famous Hubble telescope. NASA administrator Charlie Bolden said, “Upon completion, Webb will be the largest and most complex space observatory that anyone on planet Earth has ever built. It will capture the imagination and dreams of millions who dare to look at the sky and wonder.” It will be launched in October 2018 and will be positioned beyond the Moon’s orbit. It will, therefore, have a completely unobstructed view while it floats into the outer space.
Not only it is more powerful than any other telescope but it is also different from Hubble, since, it will be making use of the infrared technology to see everything like galaxies and exoplanets. The infrared view and the power of 18 gold-plated mirrors, allows the telescope to see through the cosmic dust. However, there are some delays with the launch of JWST. It was supposed to be launched in 2011 and the budget which was $1 billion spread to $8.7 billion during its construction. NASA needs to perform many tests to make sure that JWST makes past the moon. Hubble was attended by many manned missions for repairs and upgrades, however, JWST will be too far in space to be reached by the scientists for servicing.
It has taken more than 20 years but it won’t be very long when we will start seeing the images of cosmos which were never seen or imagined before. To understand the power of JWST, have a look at some of the mind-blowing facts that astrophysicists have learned since the space exploration started.
This is the zoomed-out ariel view of our solar system. Our planet is this small as compared to all others.
The distance between the earth and the moon is scaled to this. This image was sent some 50 years ago.
If you stand on the moon, the Earth will appear like this. The crystal clear view of the planet and its atmosphere is visible in this picture.
Without the use of Hubble, there is no way we could have known that there are thousands of Galaxies in the universe.
There would have been no chance that we would have known that 10 billion light years away, there is an amazing and huge spiral galaxy called UDF 423.
We would have never learned about VY Canis Majoris which is the largest known star in the universe if it wasn’t for an innovative technology. This star is much larger than our own Sun.
Carl Sagan, an American astronomer, once said, “Everyone and everything you have ever known exists on that little speck.”
Earth looks like this when looked from Neptune.
Everything that we have seen in the space through various explorations only represents a small fraction of the universe in its entirety. There is still a huge territory which needs exploration.
It can easily be seen why space exploration is so important. Without it, we will just be floating through the cosmos, unaware of each and everything that is out there around us. The JWST can help us understand a lot about the universe.