August 16, 2022

Webb telescope round revelations and earth challenges here and now

Webb telescope round revelations and earth challenges here and now

The following is an excerpt from the Sustain What blog post. Check out the full post.

Clouds among the stars

James Webb telescope view of the star formation region in the Carina Nebula. Photo: NASA

You’ve probably seen some of the stunning images unveiled yesterday by NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute. You can download and explore five images and a huge amount of related content

I ran a Sustain What pop-up webcast from the live event, which you can watch here if you missed it:

The Webb Telescope, like Hubble before it, is mind-boggling on many levels, both as a technical achievement and because of the daring nature of the politics, funding, and decades of scientific pressure required to sustain such large-scale projects. Read “Telescope time machineBy my Bulletin colleague David Kerley for that back story, centered on James Webb. Curly is also in Technical aspects of the satellite orbit That makes all this possible.

The first batch of images, as yesterday’s NASA event and an earlier teaser made clear, are breathtaking in at least three ways: for their scientific importance, for their sheer aesthetic wow factor, and for the sense of wonder and humility they evoke.

During the event, project scientist Klaus Pontopidan explained how a multi-year process whittled down 70 proposed targets to a handful “that generate the most beautiful images, highlight four science instruments, and address key science topics for They highlight the web. Yes, there are sales skills at NASA, as in any agency.

But this is truly a deep new frontier mission that will take humans further and further into the past with unprecedented detail and data.

Clearly, the hundreds of scientists running and contributing to this mission and related research efforts aren’t just here for the intellectual challenge.

Below is a pair of images that illustrate what I see as the two complementary components of the space agency’s mission: to understand and protect the home planet and to lead fundamental exploration of the universe beyond Earth’s orbit. Picture of Kyiv before the war on the left It was taken and tweeted in 2017 By NASA astronaut Randy Bresnick from the International Space Station. On the right, the first image of the web’s deep field represents a Gallery of galaxies It is about 4.8 billion light years away from Earth.

Comparison of two NASA images

Left: Pre-war Kyiv as seen from the International Space Station. Right: James Webb Telescope’s first deep field image. Photo: NASA

My reporting on NASA over the decades has mostly focused on instruments and initiatives related to the home planet, not up. In my opinion, both missions are necessary to build a sustainable future.

Read the rest of the post here.

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