NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Will Soon Begin its Final Tests

Thursday, 08 February 2018 - 8:02PM
Space
Technology
NASA
Thursday, 08 February 2018 - 8:02PM
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Will Soon Begin its Final Tests
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NASA/Chris Gunn
The James Webb Space Telescope has been in production for quite some time, facing delays and obstacles along the way (it was supposed to launch this year, which isn't happening).

But it's all going to be worth it once it's up in space. As a spiritual successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb is much more powerful, with a view 100 times as large as Hubble's and the ability to see in infrared as well (much like the separate Spitzer Space Telescope).

And with a larger mirror than Hubble, it'll be able to pick up more light and see even further back in time as it brings in new photos of the observable universe.



It's closed to finished, but it's not there yet - the two halves of the telescope, which collectively make up the James Webb observatory, recently made a cross-country trip to a Northrop Grumman facility in California, to enter its final stages of assembly. Before now, it was sitting in Houston, Texas, undergoing cryogenic testing to ensure it can survive the cold vacuum of space (it passed the tests with flying colors).

Being that this is a very big telescope, watching it make that road trip on the back of a truck is a sight to behold:



The director of the James Webb Space Telescope Program at NASA, Eric Smith, expressed his enthusiasm in a press statement:

Opening quote
"This is a major milestone. The Webb observatory, which is the work of thousands of scientists and engineers across the globe, will be carefully tested to ensure it is ready to launch and enable scientists to seek the first luminous objects in the universe and search for signs of habitable planets."
Closing quote


Once these two halves are assembled, the final series of tests can begin, and the telescope/observatory is scheduled to launch in 2019.
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