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NASA successfully launched the $ 10 billion James Webb Telescope

Today, what we have been waiting for has happened -NASA launched the James Webb Telescope into space. The idea to create this research apparatus originated in 1996, and the launch was scheduled for 2007. However, due to numerous problems, the launch of the huge telescope into outer space has been constantly postponed. The first segment of the mirror was installed only in 2015, and construction was completed only three years ago. Initially, $ 500 million was allocated for the project, but during the postponement this amount increased to 10 billion. The James Webb Telescope is one of the most expensive and complex NASA projects. It is 100 times more powerful than the still working Hubble telescope, which means that thanks to it, humanity will reveal even more mysteries of space. Let's see how the launch went and what will the new telescope do in the coming years?

Ariane 5 launch vehicle launches the James Webb Telescope into space

Interesting fact: until 2002 the new telescope was known as NextGeneration Space Telescope (NGST), which can be translated as "New Generation Space Telescope". This was due to the fact that he had to continue the research begun by the Hubble telescope. But then it was renamed James Webb, in honor of one of the first leaders of NASA.

James Webb Space Telescope Launch

As promised earlier, the launch of the telescope passedDecember 25, 2021. At 15:21 Moscow time, the Ariane 5 launch vehicle successfully took off from the Kourou launch site in French Guiana. The NASA aerospace agency was broadcasting live on its YouTube channel, so anyone can watch this historically important event.

Location of the James Webb Telescope

If all goes according to plan, telescope performance will belaunched in early 2022. Scientists will receive the first scientific data six months later, and in a year they will become available to the public. It is planned that the James Webb telescope will operate for at least 5 years. There is hope that NASA will be able to extend its service life for several decades - the Hubble telescope has been operating for more than three decades, and even if it is turned off, experts manage to restore it.

Differences between the James Webb Telescope and the Hubble

Characteristics of the James Webb Telescope

Building the world's largest telescopeengineers from 17 countries participated and the whole process was closely monitored by representatives of NASA. Most of the telescope's structure is a 20 meter long and 7 meter wide sun shield. It is necessary so that the telescope does not overheat under sunlight and the telescope matrix is ​​always cooled down to –220 degrees Celsius. If something happens to this shield, the optical equipment of the apparatus will fail and one can forget about space exploration with the help of the most expensive telescope. This is why engineers have spent several years carefully fitting the mirrors. It also took a lot of time to test each system, because after launch, astronauts will not be able to fly up to the telescope and repair it - it will be located too far from Earth.

Construction of the James Webb Telescope. Source: BBC News

In terms of built-in hardware, the James Webb Telescope consists of the following components:

  • near infrared camera;
  • mid-infrared camera;
  • near infrared spectrograph;
  • precise aiming sensor;
  • a device for forming an image in the near infrared range.

See also: The future of space telescopes: what awaits us after James Webb and WFIRST?

What will the James Webb Telescope do?

In 2017, NASA officials announced thatthe first thing to do is 2100 observations, which are the most important for the scientific community. First, the objects of observation will be the planets of the solar system, exoplanets and nearby galaxies. And then the device will begin to perform more interesting tasks:

  • will try to find light from the earliest stars and galaxies at the stage of their formation;
  • study the stellar composition of nearby galaxies;
  • examine young stars in the Milky Way and Kuiper belt objects;
  • will try to determine the color of galaxies with a strong redshift;
  • will help scientists map dark matter.

James Webb's Telescope Reveals Many Space Mysteries

In general, in the coming years we will have a lotinteresting discoveries, which we will definitely talk about. In order not to miss anything interesting, subscribe to our channels in Telegram, Pulse Mail.ru and Yandex.Zen.

And if you want to learn more about the James Webb telescope, I recommend reading articles about its design and principles of operation. Enjoy your reading and stay with us!