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We are always looking for new ways to look upwards. Bigger cameras, bigger satellites, bigger probes, and, like the oldest astronomers of our time, bigger telescopes. Right now, the main space telescope used by mankind is the famous Hubble Space Telescope, placed into orbit 25 years ago – but perhaps, not for much longer.
In late 2018, NASA will be launching the James Webb Space Telescope – an $8.8 billion dollar project that is potentially “100 times more powerful” than the Hubble Telescope, according to an official statement from NASA. Meant as the Hubble’s replacement, the Webb Telescope is designed to look further back in time at the locations the Hubble discovered to glean new information in regards to the universe’s expansion and age.
Something the Webb has been designed for that Hubble was not is the search for exoplanets. Exoplanets are planets around other stars, and the Webb is geared to look for those that could potentially harbor human-like life, existing in the so-called “Goldilocks zone” that Earth does – not too hot, not too cold, not too far, not too close to its sun.
A documentary, Telescope, on the James Webb Space Telescope will air later this year on the Science Channel and the Discovery Channel, from Academy Award nominee Nathaniel Khan.
My name is Richard Donaldson, and This Is Not Rocket Science.