NASA seeks formation of first galaxies with James Webb Space Telescope

Expert from NASA gives insight into telescope

After 25 years of development, NASA launched the James Webb Telescope last weekend.

DETROIT – After 25 years of development, NASA launched the James Webb Telescope last weekend.

Local 4′s Paul Gross spoke with Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen via Zoom. Zurbuchen is the Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at the Agency’s Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

He said the first thing to know about the telescope is that it’s light-collecting mirror is six times larger than the one on the Hubble Space telescope.

Parts of the telescope will be kept at 449 degrees below zero. Only 11 degrees above absolute zero by using a tennis court-sized shield to block the sun’s heat.

Another engineering feat was fitting a telescope with a 21-foot diameter mirror and tennis court-sized sun shield into a 16.5 foot diameter Arianne Five rocket. That was accomplished by folding Webb up like origami and then unfolding its mirrors and sun shield once deployed in space.

Once operational, scientists hope to see the very first galaxies that formed after the Big Bang. Zurbuchen said the goal is not galaxies, but the planets within.

Click here to learn more about the James Webb Space Telescope.

Watch the video above for the full story.


About the Author:

Local 4 meteorologist Paul Gross was born in Detroit and has spent his entire life and career right here in southeast Michigan. Paul has researched, written and produced eight half-hour documentaries for WDIV, as well as many science, historical and environmental stories.