The JWST Is About To Get A Cute Little $8.5-Million Sidekick

The much-anticipated MANTIS spacecraft is poised to unite with the renowned James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in a momentous cosmic survey and groundbreaking exploration of exoplanets.

NASA has entrusted the University of Colorado with an impressive $8.5 million contract to spearhead the construction of the MANTIS CubeSat, a compact companion that will synergize with the JWST in its forthcoming space expeditions.

While the JWST is a colossal observatory, adding the diminutive CubeSat will offer a symbiotic partnership. CubeSats, known for their compact size comparable to a microwave oven, are highly versatile and capable of remarkable feats in space exploration.

Under the guidance of Briana Indahl and the adept team at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), the MANTIS project is poised to commence its development journey and is scheduled for completion by 2026.

The MANTIS spacecraft will play a pivotal role in augmenting the JWST’s exoplanet investigation capabilities, providing complementary data, and facilitating the mission’s pursuit of unraveling the enigmatic nature of distant celestial bodies.

This collaborative endeavor holds tremendous potential for unveiling a trove of captivating discoveries and enhancing our understanding of the universe at large.

While NASA receives an array of valuable insights from various satellites, the James Webb Space Telescope has emerged as an iconic and pioneering entity in astronomical exploration.

Since its historic launch on December 24, as it embarked on its momentous odyssey propelled by Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana, the JWST has already unraveled a tapestry of awe-inspiring revelations, including an exquisitely detailed and profound snapshot of the universe.

This extraordinary image has granted humanity an unprecedented glimpse into the cosmic tapestry, fundamentally transforming our understanding of the vast expanse beyond Earth.

Though the JWST has gallantly traversed the cosmos independently for over a year, NASA recognizes the value of companionship in its cosmic pursuits. Owing to this CubeSat will look to join James Webb as its sidekick in its future endeavors.

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