By European Space Agency (ESA)
December 8, 2021
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab
The world’s next generation cosmic observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope, is due for launch on an Ariane 5 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana in late December.
Developed and constructed over more than 30 years, Webb is a remarkable feat of engineering and technology – with the largest astronomical mirror ever flown in space, sophisticated new scientific instruments, and a sunshield the size of a tennis court.
Webb is a joint project between NASA, ESA, and the Canadian Space Agency and will reveal the Universe in a whole new light. Optimized for infrared wavelengths, its detectors will be able to look back to shortly after the very dawn of time, revealing the formation of the first galaxies, as well as study stars and planets in our own Milky Way.
The James Webb Space Telescope is a space observatory to see further into the Universe than ever before. It is designed to answer outstanding questions about the Universe and to make breakthrough discoveries in all fields of astronomy. Webb will observe the Universe’s first galaxies, reveal the birth of stars and planets, and look for exoplanets with the potential for life. Closer to home, Webb will also look at our own Solar System in new light. Webb is an international partnership between NASA, ESA and CSA. The mission launches on an Ariane 5 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. As well as launch services, ESA contributes to two of the four science instruments, as well as personnel to support mission operations. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab
Video contains interviews with ESA’s Senior Advisor for Science and Exploration, Mark McCaughrean, Kai Noeske, ESA Science Communication Programme Officer, and NIRSpec Instrument Scientist, Giovanna Giardino.