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Starts With A Bang

What The James Webb Space Telescope Will Do For Science

A new podcast tells the incredible tale of the next great leap into the Universe

“And so far as I’m concerned, I’m not going to run a program that’s just a one-shot program. If you want me to be the administrator, it’s going to be a balanced program that does the job for the country.” –James Webb

Right around one year from today, the James Webb Space Telescope will launch to a position 1.5 million kilometers away from Earth, deploying into a quasi-stable orbit around the L2 Lagrange point. Its magnificent, 5-layer sunshield will unfold, allowing it to passively cool down to temperatures cold enough to turn nitrogen into a liquid. Beyond that, it will have on-board coolant taking it down to 7 Kelvin, allowing us to observe light that’s 50 times as long as the wavelengths the human eye can see. The gold mirrors are ideal for reflecting infrared light, and will allow us to view the Universe as never before.

This isn’t the “next Hubble” as some are saying, but rather the first James Webb! Here’s what’s in store, and what makes it so magnificent.

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