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.