Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hubble's Successor: James Webb Space Telescope

James Webb Space Telescope 2009 top
Top View of the James Webb Space Telescope
      Although the Hubble Space Telescope has been very near and dear to our hearts, it must be phased out so that newer technology can be utilized. The newer James Webb Space Telescope(JWST)  offers many new prospects into the world of Science. JWST's job will be to locate the very first galaxies that were created in the big bang. This will help to relate our galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy, to the Big Bang itself.

James Webb Space Telescope Mirror37       James Webb Space Telescope will be primarily run in the infrared range of the spectrum. Some visible capabilities are available however that is not the missions concentration. It was designed to have a very large mirror that is about 21.3 feet in diameter.  The sun shield alone is nearly the size of a tennis court. These things will not fit onto the rocket during launch however they can be folded up until the James Webb Space Telescope reaches space.

Hubble Space Telescope
         NASA has set the launch date for 2018, but I for one can not wait until I start to see images coming from it. It would be interesting to see the state of galaxies that were first formed. The Hubble Space Telescope had been giving us the best pictures since 1990, and has made history itself. It was the first to ever be worked on by astronauts. There are no maintenance missions planned for the future and we are just using it until it dies off and we launch the James Webb Space Telescope. The Hubble is intended to be running until 2014, which is a 4 year gap until the intended launch of JWST.

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