The largest space telescope in the world, constructed over a period of 20 years, as a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency is finally finished and ready for work. The space telescope which will succeed the 26 year old Hubble telescope is 100 times more powerful than its predecessor.
The James Webb telescope ( JWST) has infrared cameras that are very sensitive – it needs to be shielded from the rays of the Sun. The $ 8.8bn telescope whose 18 golden, hexagonal plates span the length of a tennis court is as tall as a three-storey building.
Who is James Webb after whom the telescope is named?
James E. Webb, who ran the early NASA space agency from 1961 to 1968, did everything that NASA is today. During his tenure, NASA invested in the development of robotic spacecraft, which explored the lunar environment so that astronauts could do so later, and it sent scientific probes to Mars and Venus, giving Americans their first-ever view of the strange landscape of outer space.
NASA administrator Charles Bolden said the telescope will help scientists see stars and planets from distant galaxies. “NASA has always sought to unravel the mysteries of our universe; to find out where we come from, where we are going, and whether we are alone in the universe. We are building the James Webb Space Telescope to answer these age-old questions.”
We can only wish the very best to the giant telescope in all its endeavours.