The NASA-built James Webb Space Telescope is set to launch on Christmas Day 2021. It will have a mirror several times the size of Hubble and will search for the first stars and galaxies in the universe. Despite its size, it will be inaccessible by human hands if it malfunctions. That’s why astronomers are looking forward to its launch. But they’re worried about its durability.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope launches on Christmas Day 2021
The launch of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is a major milestone in science and space exploration. Located about a million miles from Earth, Webb will begin its month-long trip to orbit. Once there, the telescope’s parts must unfold, as they were folded to fit inside the rocket. The massive gold-coated primary mirror and multilayered sunshield will unfold in five days. During this process, scientists will get a chance to see how the telescope will perform.
The launch is scheduled to take place on Dec. 25 between 6 a.m. and 7:52 a.m. ET. The telescope will then undergo six months of commissioning, which includes unfolding mirrors, cooling down, aligning and calibrating. The launch will also be broadcast in Spanish on NASA’s YouTube channel. Begona Vila will host the broadcast and there will be live commentary from Spanish-speaking mission members. The launch will be live-streamed on social media and on NASA’s website.
The mirror is several times larger than Hubble’s
In order to see fainter objects, Hubble’s mirror must be several times larger than its own, which is nearly impossible. It must also be very cold, because light from the first luminous objects expands in the expanding universe, becoming a ghostly infrared glow. Telescopes with cold mirrors are the only ones that can observe this light, a tiny glow only visible to the naked eye.
The mirror on the Hubble telescope is 7.8 feet in diameter, but the new Mirror is several times bigger. Its two large mirrors are held together with three long booms. This allows them to be held together perfectly, which leads to unprecedented resolution and sensitivity. It also avoids the embarrassing flaw that hampered Hubble’s early images. The primary mirror was not the right shape, resulting in blurry images.
It will search for the first stars and galaxies of the universe
The Webb telescope will be able to study light from galaxies that were just forming about two billion years ago. It will reveal information on their mass and temperature. It will also reveal what happened to the first stars after they were born, and what caused them to explode. The first stars are thought to have formed around clumps of dark matter. In fact, if a galaxy collapsed a billion years ago, the first stars would explode.
Hubble has a limit on how far it can see. While this is a big problem for telescopes, Hubble is still very effective at detecting galaxies that were formed in the early universe. Until now, the universe was dark and without stars or galaxies. By using long-time exposures, scientists have been able to look back 500 million years before the big bang.
It will be unserviceable by human hands if it breaks
The cost of the James Webb telescope launch is over $10 billion. It was initially planned to launch in 2010 at a cost of $1 billion. But since the cost has skyrocketed, it will now cost more than twice as much. It will also launch from a location more than four times as far away as the moon. Ultimately, it will be unserviceable by human hands if it breaks during its launch.
In order to launch the James Webb telescope, it must complete a complex mechanical manoeuvre. This includes unfurling its various components. The telescope was folded up in a rocket and is only unfolding now. However, there are over 300 potential technical problems with the telescope, and scientists are working on them. The telescope’s successful launch will usher in a new era of astronomy and show humankind things it’s never seen before.