Engineering Miracles for Scientific Discoveries with the James Webb Space Telescope

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In 1995, scientists asked NASA for an infrared telescope to go far beyond what Hubble can show us: the first stars, galaxies, and black holes; planets and dust clouds that are too cool to emit visible light; and planets, comets, asteroids, and satellites throughout our solar system and beyond. NASA responded with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), planned for launch in spring 2019. JWST is far larger and more powerful than any space telescope before, operating a million miles from Earth and cooled to 50 Kelvin.

In this lecture, Nobel Prize winner John Mather, senior astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and project manager for the James Webb Space Telescope, will outline how the team conceived the design, why they’re building it the way they are, and how they are testing it to make sure it will work. He will also speculate on what JWST might reveal. Considering that it could detect the light and heat of a bumblebee hovering at the distance of the Moon, we can expect to be amazed.

The Exploring Space Lecture Series is made possible by the generous support of Aerojet Rocketdyne and United Launch Alliance.


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