The James Webb Space Telescope model is flying to Germany

Oct 08, 2008
The James Webb Space Telescope Full-Scale model at its appearance at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. Credit: NASA

The model of the James Webb Space Telescope has been making a lot of "orbits" around the world, and is now slated to "land" at the Deutsches Museum in Munich, Germany from October 13-28, 2008.

The actual James Webb Space Telescope is in the process of being built. Once it launches in 2013 it will find the first galaxies and will peer through dusty clouds to see stars forming planetary systems, connecting the Milky Way to our own Solar System. Webb's instruments have been designed to work primarily in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, with some capability in the visible range.

In the meantime, a life-sized model of the Webb telescope was built by Northrop Grumman to give the viewing public here on Earth a better understanding of the size, scale and complexity of this breakthrough satellite. Northrop Grumman Corporation, Redondo Beach, Calif. and many other U.S. and international partners are working with NASA to build the actual telescope and technologies.

The Deutsches Museum in Munich, Germany has over 100,000 objects from the fields of science and technology. The exhibits and collections cover all areas of science and technology from mining to atomic physics, to biology. They extend from the Stone Age to the present time. Collecting historically significant objects is still one of the Museum's central tasks, and the Webb telescope model makes a nice temporary exhibit to showcase the next generation of space telescopes.

"The Deutsches Museum is home to a beautiful telescope collection, including the Fraunhofer Refractor, used to discover Neptune. It's wonderful to bring the James Webb Space Telescope model here so that people see both historical and state-of-the-art astronomical instruments," said Eric Smith, James Webb Space Telescope Program Scientist at NASA Headquarters, Washington. "The timing is perfect because in October, there is a workshop meeting of the Webb telescope scientists and engineers nearby, so people working on the project can get to see the life-sized model." EADS Astrium, one of the international partners currently working to build Webb, is hosting both the workshop and the display of the model in Munich.

EADS Astrium GmbH, with several locations in Germany, is partnering with NASA to sponsor the model display. They are also building the Near Infrared Spectrograph or NIRSpec instrument for the Webb telescope, one of four science instruments onboard the observatory. The 200kg spectrograph will be able to detect extremely faint radiation from some of the most distant galaxies and observe more than 100 objects simultaneously.

The Webb telescope model has "orbited" the Earth a number of times since 2005. It has "landed" at Colorado Springs, Colo.; Paris, France; Greenbelt, Md.; Rochester, N.Y.; Orlando, Fla.; Washington, D.C.; Dublin, Ireland; and most recently Montreal, Canada.

The model was specifically designed for an environment subject to gravity and weather. It is constructed mainly of aluminum and steel, weighs 12,000 lbs., and is approximately 80 feet long, 40 feet wide and 40 feet tall. The model requires 2 trucks to ship it and assembly takes a crew of 12 approximately four days. Funds used to build the model were provided solely by Northrop Grumman.

Source: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Explore further: NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Astronomers looking for clues to water's origins

Mar 27, 2014

A gas and dust cloud collapses to form a star. Amid a whirling disc of debris, little bits of rock coated with liquid water and ice begin to stick together. It is this stage of a star's formation that astronomers ...

Recommended for you

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

8 hours ago

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

Apr 18, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

The importance of plumes

Apr 18, 2014

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.