After so many years of delays and billions of dollars in budget overshoots, NASA has finally completed the components of its James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The long wait is finally over.
Astronomers are thrilled that the new telescope was finally unveiled by NASA at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. The telescope has the biggest primary mirror ever built along with 18 other hexagonal gold-plated mirrors and when it becomes operational in 2018, will be a hundred times more powerful than Hubble.
The construction of the giant sunshield that that will cover and protect the telescope's mirrors from the glare of sunlight has also been completed. Both the sunshield and the mirrors will be subsequently be integrated into a single unit after further tests.
Charlie Broden, Administrator of NASA said "Upon completion, The James Webb Space Telescope will be the largest and most complex space observatory that anyone on planet Earth has ever built." He said that this the dream of millions of people interested to observe the universe beyond the skies.
The James Webb Space Telescope is planned to be deployed in the area of the sky beyond the moon's orbit called Lagrange point 2. This view has minimal gravitational interference and the new telescope can have a spectacularly clear and unobstructed view of the world beyond.
The telescope will be viewing the universe in the infrared mode and will definitely have a better view of the stars, galaxies, and other objects in the universe. Its infrared viewing can penetrate cosmic dusts that obstruct the view of galaxies and interstellar objects.
The estimated cost of building the telescope's components was pegged at $1 billion dollars but delays and other factors have increased the actual cost to $8.5 billion. The mirrors have been tested and all have passed the rigid specifications.
After two decades of planning and constructing the components, NASA can finally assemble the James Webb Space telescope and make it operational.