NASA’s Webb Telescope launches to see distant worlds


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Engineers and technicians assemble the James Webb Space Telescope on Nov. 2, 2016, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Ever since John F. Kennedy challenged America to land a man on the moon, the interest in space exploration skyrocketed, with NASA releasing new projects over the years. Their newest one was the James Webb Telescope.
With its upgrades, NASA hoped to further the scope and help the world understand the mysteries that lie in the cosmos.
“Webb’s scientific promise is now closer than it ever has been. We are poised on the edge of a truly exciting time of discovery, things we’ve never before seen or imagined,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Directorate said, according to NASA news.
This “scientific promise” was backed up. With a sunshield the size of a tennis court, microshutters thinner than a strand of hair, and generational infrared detectors, the James Webb Telescope packed Earth’s greatest technology into a single device.
“It’s the largest, most powerful telescope that’s ever been made,” Rhonda Steinmetz, eighth grade science teacher said. “The Hubble Telescope was and still is a very effective telescope, but this one is going to be that next step in science.”
The most important addition on the new telescope were the H2RG infrared detectors. Their sensitivity to light was dialed up to extreme levels to record the weak lights from far space bodies. NASA hoped, with this advancement, they could observe far away locations.
According to, “Webb has extended the state of the art for infrared detectors by producing ones that are lower noise and longer lasting than their predecessors.”
Some believed that the telescope should have focused on more close-range bodies like the Solar System.
“We got to figure out what’s around us before we go inter-galactic. I want to look into our Oort Cloud first,” Gary Williams, seventh grade science teacher said.
Others believed that the hunt for other galaxies was the main focus.
“This [telescope] will help us map out the universe in ways that we can’t even imagine,” Steinmetz said.
Regardless, this telescope met its destination on Jan. 26 in the L2 sector, one million miles away from Earth. It was ready for use in late February.
According to NASA, Zurbuchen said, “Webb’s successful deployment exemplifies the best of what NASA has to offer: the willingness to attempt bold and challenging things in the name of discoveries still unknown.”