Soon, humanity will see the deepest images of the universe that have yet to be captured. Within two weeks, the $ 10 billion James Web Space Telescope (JWST) – NASA’s extremely expensive, super-powerful deep space optical imager – will release its first full-color image, and agency officials suggested today that they could just get started.
“It’s much more than humanity has ever seen before,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said during a media briefing on Wednesday (he called because he had tested positive for COVID-19 the night before). “We’re just beginning to understand what the web can and will do.”
NASA launched James Webb last December; Since then, it has been running a special startup process that involves fine-tuning all of its 18 giant mirror parts. NASA a few months ago Shared a “selfie” Identify successful operation of IR camera and primary mirror. Earlier this month, the company said the first images of the telescope would be ready for public debut on July 12 at 10:30 AM ET.
One aspect of the universe that JWST will unveil is the exoplanets or planets outside our solar system – in particular, their atmosphere. The key to understanding whether there are other planets like us in the universe, or whether there is life on the planets in atmospheric conditions, is different from the planets found on Earth. And Thomas Jurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s science mission department, has confirmed that images of the atmospheric spectrum of an exoplanet will be shared with the public on July 12.
Basically, James Webb’s extraordinary ability to capture infrared spectrum means that it will be able to detect small molecules like carbon dioxide. This will enable scientists to actually examine how atmospheric compositions shape the ability of life to originate and develop on a planet.
NASA officials share even better news: the agency’s predictions about the telescope’s extra fuel capacity were spot on, and JWST will be able to capture images from space for about 20 years.
“Not only will those 20 years go deeper into our history and time, but we will be able to go deeper into science because we will have the opportunity to learn and grow and make new observations,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy.
JWST did not travel easily for deep space. The whole project came very close to not happening at all, Nelson said, when it began to run out of money and Congress considered canceling it altogether. This is also face to face Too late Due to technical problems. Then, when it reached space, it was Immediately pinged by a micrometeoroidAn incident that must have shaken every NASA official.
But overall, “it’s been an amazing six months,” confirmed web project manager Bill Oches.