Researchers hope the new telescope will provide a unique look into space
The world’s largest and most powerful space telescope has embarked on a high-stakes quest to see the light of the first stars and galaxies.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope flew from French Guiana to South America on Saturday. A European Ariane rocket provided the lift on Christmas morning.
The 30-minute launch sequence went largely without a hitch.
“I want to congratulate the team on this incredible achievement – the launch of Webb marks an important moment not only for NASA, but for the thousands of people around the world who have dedicated their time and talent to this mission over the years. years, “said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington. “Webb’s scientific promise is now closer than it’s ever been. We’re on the brink of a truly exciting time of discovery, of things we’ve never seen or imagined before.”
Webb is now rushing towards his destination 1 million kilometers from the surface of the Earth. It will take a month to get there and another five months of commissioning before it begins to send images back to Earth.
NASA has partnered with space agencies in Europe and Canada to build and launch the new telescope.
NASA says the telescope’s four infrared imaging instruments will allow researchers to study “distant celestial objects with much greater clarity than ever before.”
The $ 10 billion observatory is designed as the successor to the aging Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble, 30, has experienced several software glitches in recent years, leaving it unavailable for long periods of time.