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James Webb Space Telescope (NASA)
NASA has always been a pioneer in space technology and astronomy since its foundation. This time it is about to do something very great to bring about the much-needed advancement in the arena. The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) which has been for decades, a major source of space imagery for NASA, is to be replaced in the upcoming years with its successor named James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). As per a statement from NASA, JWST is much more than a mere replacement and should be seen as a next-generation telescope which offers many improvements and enhancements over Hubble.

While considering the scientific capabilities, we find James Webb Space Telescope to be better in almost every way. Its primary mirror (over 21 feet in diameter) is far larger than that of Hubble (8 feet). The new telescope’s coverage area is more than 7 times as compared to that of Hubble. Moreover, it uses a new sort of mirror that has never been used at this scale in a space-based telescope. So, definitely, there is much novelty to be seen.

Each “pane” of beryllium (total 18) can be adjusted independently whereas Hubble, in contrast, used a conventional ground mirror.

Despite the vast difference in size, James Webb Space Telescope’s mirror weighs very less than Hubble. This is the miracle of modern science, enhancement in quality and deduction on the part of quantity. The conventional mirror aboard the Hubble measures 2,200 lbs, while for James it is just 1,375 lbs.

James is without any doubt going to work wonders for our astronomers with its ability to peep much deeper in space when compared to Hubble.

Related: NASA Going for Deep Space Exploration With NextSTEP

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James Webb Space Telescope and Hubble comparison

The James Webb Space Telescope isn’t optimized for optical wavelengths- its specialization is the infrared spectrum. But happily, it’ll be capable of imaging in human-eye friendly spectrums and with far more resolution than Hubble. The deep infrared capabilities of the James Webb Space Telescope and its location can prove to be a great boon for the ongoing quest of habitable planets other than earth and might possible; it can get us an insight to the alien life existing in Universe.

Unlike Hubble, which was placed in Earth’s orbit and designed to be serviced by the shuttle,  James Webb Space Telescope will be placed in Sun-Earth L2 LaGrange points.

But it is sad for me to mention that all’s not well with the project. It has certain issues regarding funds and construction. Sadly, it is years behind the schedule, and has already over headed its original budget. Many of these issues originally lingered about Hubble Telescope. For instance, the HST was meant to be launched in 1983 but a similar morass of technical issues and the unexpected losses graved the project and finally, it was deployed in 1990. Misfortunately, it was not the end to the problems. Soon after the launch, it was discovered that the main mirror had been incorrectly grounded. The project severely suffered and NASA had to build a corrective lens to be installed over the improperly grounded mirror and it was no less than a challenge to them.

It is believed by the scientists that there is no such scope for error with James. It seems that they are pretty confident for James Webb Space Telescope and hope it to be a success.

Related: NASA Test-fires Largest and Most Powerful Rocket Booster Ever Built

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James Webb Space Telescope Early Model at NASA Goddard (2005)

LaGrange points are positions in space where the gravitational pull of large masses is equal to the centripetal force required for a small object to move with them. In this case, the small object is JWST.

The position of JWST is going to be economical as far as fuel consumption is considered. How? The answer is- An object in Earth’s L2 point remains in approximately the same position relative to our planet and the Sun, so it can maintain its position with the minimal use of fuel. That clearly means that JWST is much more economical than Hubble.

James Webb Space Telescope is hoped to be launched in 2018 as it is currently on-time and on-budget. Piercing through the clouds, the mission has overcome all hurdles and it is expected that soon we will see NASA hit yet another milestone in space technology and surely, it will unveil all the secrets of Universe.

We hope that James Webb Space Telescope will prove to be a great accomplishment for the entire Universe. What’s your say on this? Do tell us through comments. So, keep a roving eye on happenings in science and technology with us. Keep reading fossBytes, as we will continue to bring to you tons of information with every single byte. 

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