NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is fully deployed in space, paving the way for its unprecedented science arrivals.
Why this matters: The $10 billion JWST is designed to look into the atmosphere of distant alien worlds, capturing the light of some of the first galaxies and piecing together how stars evolve into clouds of dust.
What is happening: Engineers on Earth on Saturday unfurled the final section of the telescope’s large, gold-coated primary mirror, the final major step in the risky deployment process that began after JWST’s launch on Christmas Day.
- NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement, “Today, NASA has achieved another engineering milestone decades in the making. Although the journey is not complete, I look to the future to breathe a little easier and inspire the world.” Join the web team in visualizing success.” ,
What will happen next: The telescope continues on its way to about 1 million miles from Earth where it will conduct its science.
- According to NASA, JWST will soon perform a “mid-course correction burn” to keep it on track to exit its perch, and the telescope will begin to align its mirrors for further sensitive science.
- The telescope will also need to calibrate its instruments before starting science operations later this year.