The Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990 and was in operation till now, will soon be replaced by a far more powerful (and goes with out saying) expensive model.
NASA administrator Charles Bolden has unveiled an $8.8 billion telescope, dubbed James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which will be able to see the universe as it was 13 billion years ago. JWST Is equipped with a 21-foot, gold-coated mirror array that can collect light seven times more than Hubble and scan the infrared spectrum to see through dust.
According to the project scientist, John Mather, “We’ve done two decades of innovation and hard work, and this is the result.
The telescope has the power to unveil the components of other planets. According to Mather, the telescope will be able to tell if any other planet has enough water to have an ocean. The extremely large and smooth mirror of the telescope it has enough power to detect a bumblebee on the moon.
JSWT, which will educate the dwellers on Earth about other planets, will be launched aboard the ESA Ariane 5 rocket, unarguably dubbed one of world’s most reliable heavy launch rocket vehicle. It will cover a one-million-mile trip in 30 days to the second Lagrange point. NASA’s telescope will then deploy its antenna, sunshield, secondary mirror, and primary mirror wings en route. The first images, is expected to be of a relatively bright star or star field, which will be the final proof that everything went according to the plan.
JWST will go through a series of tests before it is finally launched so as to avoid the problems Hubble had. Once it is launched it will be impossible to fix any problem as the telescope will be nearly a million miles from Earth.
Firstly to make sure that the telescope is strong enough at the time of launch, NASA scientists will rattle the device and blast it with 150 decibels of noise — yup. The telescope will be put through similar conditions as the launch before it is actually put on the giant Ariane 5 rocket.
Now this is just as simple and as exact as how you invert the bottle full of water and shake it 10 times before you actually put it in your bag to make sure it does not open in the bag when you board your train to office.
The humongous NASA telescope will then undergo cryogenic testing to make sure that it can survive the extreme temperatures of space.
And finally it’ll undergo final performance tests to ensure there are no Hubble-like optical defects. Just exactly, how you take you a mock test just one day before you sit for your final entrance exam, just so that you do not make the same mistake you did when you sat for the exam last year!
The James Webb mission is scheduled for October 2018.