On James Webb Space Telescope (JWST): A new universe

News: The 25-year saga of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) illustrates the difficulties in doing pure science, and the way international cooperation can overcome such difficulties.

The JWST was conceptualised in 1996 when development began with an initial R&D budget of $500 million.

It took a combined effort from America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to launch the JWST. The lifetime mission cost will be over $10 billion.

The technical difficulties were considerable. It took thousands of scientists and engineers to iron out the problems, and create the JWST. A total of 258 companies, government agencies, and academic institutions have contributed, over the past 25 years.

Key points

  Apart from distant galaxies, it would also analyse exoplanets (planets orbiting other star systems) in great detail.

One of the wonderful features of this project is that anybody can submit a proposal for JWST observations, and the data gathered and transmitted back to Earth will all eventually be publicly available.

Read more about JWST:

JWST in the centre of a LGBT debate

Explained: NASA’s flagship telescope, and its successor

Source: This post is based on the article “A new universe” published in Business Standard on 30th Dec 2021.

Print Friendly and PDF