Most powerful space telescope ever to launch in 2018

As the Hubble Space Telescope celebrates 25 years in space this week, NASA and its international partners are building an even more powerful tool to look deeper into the universe than ever before.

NASA vows $8.8 bn space telescope on track for 2018

After a series of delays and billions spent over budget, the potent James Webb Space Telescope is on track to launch in 2018 at a total project cost of $8.8 billion, NASA vowed on Tuesday.

Avatar's moon Pandora could be real

In the new blockbuster Avatar, humans visit the habitable - and inhabited - alien moon called Pandora. Life-bearing moons like Pandora or the Star Wars forest moon of Endor are a staple of science fiction. With NASA's Kepler ...

US lawmakers vote to kill Hubble successor

In a fresh blow to NASA's post-shuttle aspirations, key US lawmakers voted Thursday to kill off funding for the successor to the vastly successful space-gazing Hubble telescope.

Astronomers unveil the farthest galaxy

An international team of astronomers led by Yale University and the University of California-Santa Cruz have pushed back the cosmic frontier of galaxy exploration to a time when the universe was only 5% of its present age.

Hubble sees a galaxy with a glowing heart

(Phys.org) —This view, captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows a nearby spiral galaxy known as NGC 1433. At about 32 million light-years from Earth, it is a type of very active galaxy known as a Seyfert galaxy—a ...

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James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a planned infrared space observatory, the partial successor to the aging Hubble Space Telescope. The JWST will not be a complete successor, because it will not be sensitive to all of the light wavelengths that Hubble can see. The main scientific goal is to observe the most distant objects in the universe, those beyond the reach of either ground based instruments or the Hubble. The JWST project is a NASA-led international collaboration with contributors in 15 nations, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

Originally called the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST), it was renamed in 2002 after NASA's second administrator, James E. Webb (1906-1992). Webb had overseen NASA 1961-68 from the beginning of the Kennedy administration through the end of the Johnson administration, thus overseeing all the critical first manned launches in the Mercury through Gemini programs, until just before the first manned Apollo flight.

Current plans call for the telescope to be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket in 2014, on a five-year mission. The JWST will reside in solar-orbit near the Sun-Earth L2 point, which is on a line passing from the Sun to the Earth, but about 1.5 million km farther away from the Sun than is the Earth. This position, which moves around the Sun in exact orbital synchrony with the Earth, will allow JWST to shield itself from infrared from both Sun and Earth, by using a single radiation shield positioned between the telescope and the Sun-Earth direction.

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