The James Webb Space Telescope Will Search Out The Extra-Terrestrials (+VIDEO)
The successor of the Hubble and Spitzer telescopes, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), is scheduled for launch in 2018, when it will fly a million miles from Earth and begin sending images of deep space back to us. The full scale model was on display outdoors at the South By Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas. NASA’s Telescope Scientist for the JWST, reported that the telescope is nearly three times the size of Hubble and better fitted out to identify the spectrum signature of “living planets.” As for advanced technologies aboard the telescope, there’s a Near Infrared Camera, which will be used to capture sight of distant planets passing in front of stars, then analyze the data to be able to identify worlds where the signatures of life, like water and methane, are present. The mission of the telescope will also comprise seeking for evidence of the first stars, and looking for insights into the formation of galaxies and planets as well as life. One of the main challenges the engineers have faced during construction is managing the extreme temperature difference between the sun-facing side and the “dark side” of the telescope, particularly given the sensitivity of its infrared camera.