After the Big Bang, when the universe was in its infancy and the first stars blinked, it remains one of the most mysterious chapters in the history of the universe.
If astronomers could study the chaotic, glorious days of the early universe, they could begin to unravel how the universe formed more than 13 billion years ago. They can finally understand what extraordinary forces appeared on stars, galaxies, black holes and planets – including the extraterrestrial worlds that support life.
Nevertheless, despite the most sophisticated observatories in space and on the ground, scientists have no way of tracking the oldest and most distant objects in the universe.
I mean, until now.
NASA is to launch mankind’s largest and most powerful telescope into space, called the $ 10 billion Behemoth. James Webb Space Telescope. The tennis court-level observation deck, which is scheduled to depart on Saturday from the European Space Base in French Guiana, will be able to see deeper and more in space than any telescope that came before it.
NASA calls this mission the “Apollo Moment” – a giant leap forward that could revolutionize our understanding of the universe and the place of humanity in it.
“It’s a kind of clich to say that this is going to change the course of astronomy, but it could do better,” said Marcia Raik, an astronomer at the University of Arizona.
Ryke spent the last 20 years developing a specially designed infrared camera called the NIRcam, one of the four main components of the web telescope. He said that 100 million years after the Big Bang, the web could unravel the mysteries of the early universe. It can observe extraterrestrials with instruments sensitive enough to study their atmosphere, looking for possible biology of alien life.
For all its potential benefits, this mission is one of NASA’s most daring.
Once launched, the web telescope will take about a month to travel to a point around the sun about 1 million miles from Earth.
The target of the laboratory is called the second latitude or L2 point, and the telescope was chosen because one side of the telescope could be in a permanent orbit facing the Earth and the Sun permanently. This helps to protect the telescope’s equipment from heat and light, which can interfere with its observations.
But beyond a million miles, NASA cannot send astronauts to the telescope to upgrade or repair if something goes wrong. Astronauts famously visited the Hubble Space Telescope in low-Earth orbit between 1993 and 2009 in five separate service missions. This time it will not be an option, said Greg Robinson, NASA’s web project director.
“There was no help along the way,” Robinson said. “As soon as it leaves the planet, it is automatic.”
Next generation space telescope
The James Web Space Telescope is a joint venture between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. Originally proposed 30 years ago, the laboratory is designed to help astronomers integrate how the modern universe came to be.
But this plan is not without controversy. During its development, the telescope spent billions of dollars on a budget and was completed more than a decade later. For the thousands of scientists and engineers around the world involved in this project, it has been a long and frequent horizontal journey.
Now, Webb is finally ready to get started.
The laboratory is based on the tradition of the Hubble Space Telescope, which has been in operation since 1990. Hubble is responsible for decades of scientific discoveries and some of the most jaw-dropping images of the universe, including the glorious pillars of creation. The telescope is limited by what it can see – and how far.
The web telescope’s primary mirror collects and focuses light from objects in the universe, making it extremely large to fly in space.