The James Webb space telescope, which astronomers hope will herald a new era of discovery, will launch on December 18, NASA said Wednesday.
The $10 billion observatory (about Rs 73,700), a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, will launch the Ariane 5 rocket from the Spaceport in French Guiana. .
It is currently being stored at contractor Northrop Grumman’s facilities in Redondo Beach, California, where it is awaiting shipment.
Webb’s NASA program director Gregory Robinson said in a statement: “Webb is an exemplary mission that embodies the epitome of perseverance.”
“We are extremely honored to be orbiting NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope with Ariane, the first telescope for Arianespace and the European space team,” said Stephane Israel, CEO of Arianespace.
The researchers wanted to use the space telescope, the largest and most powerful ever built, to look back in time more than 13.5 billion years to see the first stars and galaxies form, several hundred million. years after the Big Bang.
A key feature is infrared detection, which by the time light from the first objects reaches our telescopes, it has shifted towards the red end of the electromagnetic spectrum due to the expansion of the electromagnetic spectrum. expansion of the universe.
Today’s leading space telescope, Hubble, has only limited infrared power.
Astronomers also hope the James Webb Space Telescope will power the exploration of alien worlds.
The first planets orbiting other stars were discovered in the 1990s, and there are now more than 4,000 confirmed exoplanets.