US$10 billion James Webb Space Telescope to change our knowledge of the Cosmos in exact one year
New Delhi : Exactly after one year – on March 30, 2021, the US $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope (JWST or “Webb” for short) has been scheduled to launch on a European Ariane 5 rocket from the Guiana Space Centre to the northwest of Kourou in French Guiana.
It will be replacing the current Hubble Space Telescope. "Webb" will be studying the solar system, directly image exoplanets, photograph the first galaxies, and explore the mysteries of the origins of the Universe. By detecting infrared light, Webb will be able to look further back in time than any other telescope thus far.
Till date, James Webb Space Telescope is the most ambitious and complex space science telescope. And if the launch goes as per schedule, the scientists will be trying their hands on it soon.
Can Coronavirus Pandemic delay its launch?
Since the coronavirus pandemic has gripped the whole world and it will take some months to normalize the situation, it is likely that the launch may get delayed. Originally conceived in the 1990s and at first expected to launch in 2007, Webb has been beset by delays.
Interestingly, at this time the James Webb Space Telescope has been safely kept in its cleanroom at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California, and March 30, 2020, was still the target date for Webb’s launch. However, there could be an announcement on April 15, 2020, about a new schedule.
#NASAWebb is now a fully assembled observatory, and has accomplished multiple large deployments and movements that it will perform in space. This new time-lapse video highlights these recent critical milestones. #JWST #timelapse pic.twitter.com/N027BGFjuv— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) February 26, 2020
What is James Webb Space Telescope?
It is a joint venture between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). It is a massive space telescope with a near-infrared camera and spectrograph for collecting light from the early Universe. It’s named after James E. Webb, NASA’s administrator during (some of) the Apollo era.