Hubble’s Powerful Successor

Sany Gómez

The universe hides secrets that ever since the beginning of time humanity has tried to reveal, from the uncertain forms of galaxies to even the apprehension of forms of life.

The year 1990 shocked us with the launch of Hubble, a never-before-seen telescope with unimaginable capacities. This amazing device turned out to explore key parts of the cosmos for the scientific community. Thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope, we now know that the universe is actually 14 billion years old as well as the proof explaining that it is expanding even faster, thanks to amazing never-seen pictures taken from far away distances. Hubble spent 25 years whirling around the planet transforming human vision by watching stars explode and new planets being created. However, it is time to replace it with a new, modern machine. James Webb Telescope is a Space Telescope and part of NASA’s Next Generation Space Telescope program that will launch October 18th and will offer the world answers to burning questions about the phases of the history of the universe and show us amazing images of hidden galaxies.

Named after James E. Webb, the second administrator of NASA during the Apollo program, this device has been manufactured by a collaboration of different countries: European Space Agency, Canadian Space Agency, and NASA. These provided the different parts needed to assemble the entire telescope.  In contrast to Hubble Space Telescope, which weighed 11 tons and had a cylindric form of 13.2 meters, the James Webb Telescope has a mass of 6200 kg and it is composed of a total of 18 gold-covered hexagon mirrors. The James Webb Telescope works in a different way than Hubble did, providing a vision 100 times better by bouncing off the light that comes into the telescope from the sky to the 18 concave mirror solar panels that cover major parts of the telescope. It then focuses on to a spot on the edge of the telescope. Once energy is contained in that spot, it bounces back into the center of the telescope where it is transformed into an augmented vision. Unlike Hubble, The James Webb Telescope will use infrared light to pick extremely small amounts of heat.”For instance, if there were a bumblebee orbiting around the distance of the Moon we would be able to pick up the heat with the telescope,” explains Dr. John Mather, senior astrophysicist and Nobel prize laureate. In addition, thanks to the materials this device is made out of (beryllium and gold), the telescope will be able to capture information at longer distances.

The James Webb Telescope will launch in October 2018 by Ariane V in the Guiana Space Center, French Guiana. Although the duration of its mission hasn’t yet been established, it is estimated to last from 5 to 10 years. Right now, the telescope is being kept in Johnson Space Center (Texas). It is stored in a massive, sealed cryogenic chamber, waiting for its time to discover, analyze, and reveal the answers we’ve all been waiting for.

Edited by: Kaylynn Crawford and Shreya Singireddy