The James Webb Space Telescope is a space apparatus jointly built by NASA, the European agency ESA and the Canadian CSA that will scan the universe for the farthest galaxies.
Named after NASA's second chief in APOLLO times, this project, although it has been scheduled and canceled several times since 2007, is finally scheduled to launch in March of next year 2021.
Unlike Hubble, which is an optical telescope, that is, sensitive to the wavelengths of the visible spectrum and therefore a very fat magnifying glass, the Webb uses the infrared spectrum to scan the universe.
Roughly this means that this telescope will detect the heat emitted by celestial bodies instead of their light, so it will be able to see cold or distant objects and show us new wonders of the universe.
The mirror is made up of 18 hexagonal modules that together make up a 6.5m mirror, almost three times the size of Hubble's (2.24m), mounted on a base that protects it from solar radiation and cools it down to 220 degrees below zero so that the temperature does not interfere with the measurements.
Unlike Hubble, the James Webb will orbit the sun and is synchronized with the earth to maintain communications, at an average distance of 1,000,000 km compared with, approximately 500 km distance in the case of Hubble.
All this paraphernalia will allow us to see images of the first galaxies formed when the universe was only a few hundred million years old, or, what is the same, more than 13,500 million years ago.
Another of the wonders that it promises is to be able to see the extrasolar planets and know their density, composition, type of atmosphere if you have it and the possibility of harboring some kind of life inside.
If the images obtained by Hubble during its more than 30 years of life have already impressed (at least me), I can't imagine what the James Webb will show us.
Let's hope this time they don't cancel it again.
Versión en español