Three Decades Of Space Exploration As NASA Builds A Telescope

An artist impression of the James Webb Telescope

Illustration: NASA GSFC/CIL/Adriana Manrique Gutierrez

In less than three weeks, NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency will finally launch the James Webb Space Telescope into orbit. And it’s been a long time coming.

The new observatory has been created as a successor to the aging Hubble Space Telescope and will be the largest and most powerful space science telescope ever constructed by NASA.

The machine comprises a 21-foot mirror made up of 18 golden plates. This primary mirror reflects infrared rays to a small mirror, which then directs them to an array of four sensors. These include infrared cameras, near-infrared spectrographs and other infrared-sensitive instruments.

All this will help the James Webb Telescope observe parts of space that have never been seen…

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