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NASA’s revolutionary new space telescope is set to be launched from French Guiana

December 25 (Reuters) – NASA’s James Web Space Telescope, a $ 9 billion revolutionary instrument, will be able to see deeper into space than ever before, launching early Saturday morning from the northeast coast of South America, ushering in a new era of much-anticipated astronomy.

The powerful infrared telescope, hailed by NASA as the premier space-science laboratory of the next decade, was loaded into the cargo bay of the Ariane 5 rocket at 7:20 a.m. EST (1220 GMT) by the European Space Agency (1220 GMT). ESA) Launch Base in French Guiana.

If all goes according to plan, the 14,000-pound instrument will be released from a French rocket after a 26-minute journey into space.

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The web telescope will take a month to reach its target in solar orbit about 1 million miles from Earth – four times farther than the Moon. Also the special orbit of the heat will keep the planet and telescope in constant alignment with the earth as it orbits the sun.

In comparison, Webb’s 30 – year – old Hubble Space Telescope orbits the Earth at a distance of 340 miles, orbiting the planet’s shadow every 90 minutes.

Named after the man who supervised NASA during its developing decade in the 1960s, the web is 100 times more sensitive than Hubble and is expected to deepen scientists’ understanding of the universe and our place in it.

The Web mainly looks at the universe in the infrared spectrum, which allows stars to gaze through the clouds of gas and dust, while Hubble operates primarily on optical and ultraviolet wavelengths.

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Cosmology History Lesson

The new telescope’s main mirror – with 18 hexagonal sections of gold – plated beryllium metal – also has a larger light-collecting area, which allows it to track objects farther away than the Hubble or any other telescope.

Astronomers say it’s a theoretical flash point that set in motion an unprecedented view of the universe – just 100 million years after the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago.

Hubble’s vision went back about 400 million years after the Big Bang, revealing objects that could be re-examined with the greatest clarity on the web.

In addition to exploring the formation of early stars in the universe, astronomers are interested in studying super-massive black holes believed to occupy the centers of distant galaxies.

Webb’s instruments are ideal for tracking newly documented extraterrestrials – celestial bodies orbiting distant stars – and worlds such as Mars and Saturn’s icy moon Titan closest to home.

The telescope is a NASA-led international collaboration with European and Canadian space agencies. Northrop Krumman Corp. (Night) Was the primary contractor. The ArianeSpace launch vehicle is part of a European contribution.

The Web was created at a cost of $ 8.8 billion and is planned to bring in its operating costs Wholesale price tag About $ 9.66 billion, much higher than previously planned when NASA was targeting the 2011 launch. read more

The astronomical operation of the telescope, managed from the Baltimore Space Telescope Science Institute, is expected to begin in the summer of 2022, six months after the alignment and calibration of the windshield glasses and instruments.

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That’s when NASA expects to release the initial images captured by the Web, although scientists have remained silent about where they originally planned to point the telescope. Webb is designed to last up to 10 years.

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Report by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Cynthia Asterman Editing

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