Over the last two decades, technology has developed at a rate previously unheard of. Now, that growth has left us with a new telescope quite literally able to see across time.
The New York Post identified the James Webb Space Telescope as the most powerful time machine ever built. That said, it’s already years late in its initial launch. However, scientists have made sure everything is perfect prior to sending the $10 billion object a million miles into space.
Now, after several delays, the James Webb Space Telescope is set to launch this Christmas Day. Soon after, the craft hopefully begins providing Outsiders with a brand new perspective of our universe. In May, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson shared with Fox News the new craft will “peer back in time” 13.35 billion years.
According to the outlet, the space telescope will improve and grow upon the knowledge the famous Hubble Telescope. The latter has already provided NASA and other agencies alike with invaluable knowledge.
Essentially, James Webb can pick up light emitted from stars and galaxies across eons. More specifically, the space agency states the new craft will explore a time period in our universe identified as the “Epoch of Reionization.” This particular era came during the dark ages following the Big Bang.
In another statement, NASA said the James Webb Space Telescope will be able to “look much closer to the beginning of time and to hunt for the unobserved formation of the first galaxies.” That’s in addition to its ability to “look inside dust clouds where stars and planetary systems are forming today.”
When Does NASA’s Telescope Begin its Mission?
While NASA’s James Webb Telescope will finally see launch this week following several long delays, it doesn’t mean it will immediately begin time-traveling upon reaching space.
As suspected, the James Webb Telescope has earned the title of the space agency’s most expensive spacecraft in history. However, it also boasts other notable properties.
The New York Post reports James Webb is so large it doesn’t fit into the “nose cone” of any available launch vehicle. Therefore, professionals responsible with the complex object’s creation were tasked with another challenge. As a result, they have constructed it in a way that allows it to fold into a much more compact size.
Of its size, NASA said, “At over 21 feet in diameter…and about 270 square feet in area, Webb’s primary mirror is also too wide to fit into the Ariane 5 fairing in one piece.”
Instead, the mirror, the most crucial tool of the telescope’s creation, is segmented into 18 hexagonal pieces. Essentially, after launching into space, those mirrors will unfold and expand, the start of the James Webb’s journey.
Alongside its other milestones, the James Webb Telescope also possesses the largest mirror ever launched into space.
Simple as it might sound, the telescope’s actual unfolding process takes two weeks. And that’s before it travels a vast million miles to its destination among our sun’s orbit.
Still, we have a while to wait until we start seeing the actual fruit of the large space craft’s labor. NASA states its commissioning period lasts another six months. Finally, from there scientists will begin to see its first scientific observations.