NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is slated to be more powerful than the Hubble Telescope and will be launched into space from South America. The telescope will be four times further from the earth than the moon, with the ability to process infrared light.
The telescope’s large size makes it so powerful that it can see small insects as far away as the moon.
The James Webb Space Telescope has all of the unit’s launch hardware in place, but NASA claims that the official launch will be delayed yet again. An initial launch was slated for October 2018, but then delayed to sometime between March and June 2019. The most recent delay will push the launch of the telescope back until May 2020,
The James Webb Space Telescope has an $8 billion budget that goes up with every delay. Scientists claim that the most recent delay has nothing to do with technical errors or performance issues. The delay is a result of spacecraft elements taking longer than expected to integrate together.
Thruster issues caused the initial delay last year. The sunshield, which spans five layers, was also delayed for testing, causing a longer-than-expected delay. Human error was to blame for the propulsion system issues. NASA claims improper solvent was used to clean the thrusters, which in turn damaged valve seals. The seals were refurbished, but they started to cause slippage after nine months, so new seals were required.
Improper voltage was also used on the propulsion system, causing the pressure transducers to have to be replaced. The replacement is lengthy, causing a three-month delay in the launch of the telescope.
The James Webb Space Telescope will be the replacement for the Hubble Telescope, which was first launched. The James Webb will be one of the world’s most powerful telescopes, with scientists hopeful that they’ll be able to capture light from single stars.
The stars will be some of the universe’s first stars.
Astronomers have long wanted to view the universe’s first black holes and stars. The findings will explain some of the world’s mysteries to scientists, who will be able to explore the properties of the early universe. Computer models are currently the only option to explore stars and black holes from the early universe.
The right conditions will be needed for the telescope to provide these findings. Einstein’s theory of general relativity suggests that when mass bends light, the gravitational lensing effect is possible. The effect could magnify light by 10 – 20 factors, but scientists are hoping for a moving galaxy cluster. The cluster magnifies light 10,000 times, allowing for telescopic capabilities that have never before been seen.
Scientists have already identified some of these clusters, including the El Gordo cluster,
Some of the earliest chemical reactions in history as well as the physical properties of the universe may be uncovered.
NASA is also working on a self-assembling space telescope that will span 100 feet across and will be a modular telescope. The telescopes will offer autonomous deployment to specific points in space before self-assembling.