Progress Of The NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Program In 2013 (+VIDEO)

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The launch of the largest and most expensive projects ($8.8 billion) in NASA history, James Webb Space Telescope, planned for 2018, is on time and still within its new budget. The JWST is a new space observatory, almost three times bigger than its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope. Designed to work best at infrared wavelengths, JWST will take infrared images of distant galaxies, probing the cosmos for hints and signals left behind from the Big Bang. The telescope’s tennis court-size sunshield is in the early stages of testing; NASA is planning to unroll the shield once the craft is in orbit, since it is too large to launch in an unfurled state. Two of the main instruments that will also take high-quality images of other bodies in space are already available at NASA: the Mid-Infrared Instrument and the Fine Guidance Sensor/Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph. NASA is now waiting for the instruments measuring light on the infrared spectrum: Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and the Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec). NASA officials claim, that the final testing on the ground will begin in 2015, simulation testing using Optimal Trajectories by Implicit Simulation will start in 2017. The astronomer from Caltech, Mike Brown, believes JWST’s sensitive instruments should be able to deliver some information about the elements that created rocky and icy objects in the outer solar system.

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