Space telescope, the James Webb prepares to search for extraterrestrial life




Space telescope, the James Webb prepares to search for extraterrestrial life

Questions about whether there is life beyond our earth, people began to think, it seems, when first started to look at the stars. It is not surprising that at the present time, astronomers from all over the cosmos and so attracts the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, which has become almost their obsession. Now trying to solve this problem do telescope “Hubble” and “Spitzer”, but soon will come to replace them completely new and more “big-eyed” the James Webb Telescope ( JWST ) – the latest development of scientists, who claim themselves as astronomers answer to the question “Are we alone in the universe? ‘.

Initially launching a new generation of telescopes planned for 2007, but due to lack of funding this date permanently transferred, first pushing for the 2014th, and then in 2015. In 2011, it became clear that the original construction cost estimates have been exceeded by 4. The current cost of developing a JWST is nearly $ 7 billion. But the work is not yet completed. This year, pledged to continue the construction of another 627 million dollars. The very same telescope launched into space it is estimated will be held no earlier than 2018.

One of the most clear and precise objectives telescope discussions held in the science festival South By Southwest Interactive, which was held in Austin, Texas (USA), which brought a full-sized model of JWST.

Matt Mountain, Development Engineer NASA, assembles JWST, said at a conference full of enthusiasts for space exploration that “the James Webb Telescope will play a key role in the search for extraterrestrial life.” Mountain explained that the size is larger than the JWST telescope “Hubble” is almost three times, and technically it is much better equipped to detect the spectral signatures of “living planet.”


Rendering of how it will look JWST in space

Most important in the JWST telescope is its camera, operating in the near IR (Near Infrared Camera) – a key element that will allow scientists to detect signals of distant planets, wandering around the stars, and analyzing the data to decide – whether on these planets, such as water and methane, there are signs that may indicate the presence of life.

Alberto Conti, another Development Engineer Space Telescope, the James Webb explained that the mission of the JWST, of course, is not only the search for extraterrestrial life. The task will also search for evidence and remnants of the very first stars appeared in the universe, and the monitoring of galaxies form.

Conti shared that one of the biggest challenges for astronomers in the issue tracking just formed galaxies is the presence of the infrared “dust”, which normally blocks the visual review. But the camera JWST will be so powerful that it can overcome even these entanglements area.


The full-size model of JWST, located opposite the skyscraper in Austin

Blake Bullock, speaking from the agency Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, spoke about the difficulties associated with the actual construction of the telescope itself. One of the difficulties for researchers was the temperature difference between the task faced by the side telescope, which is directed to the Sun, and the party that will remain in the shadows. This difference has a negative effect on the sensitivity of the infrared camera.


Telescope assembly


Ultrasensitive JWST mirror

Second JWST primary mirror

The scientists tested the sensitivity and mirror reflection

I had also worked on how to assemble and disassemble the telescope – his delivery will be carried into orbit by a missile, which he then himself decay, fly away from the Earth at a distance of several million kilometers and starts.

Tags: JWST , Deep space , the search for extraterrestrial life , the James Webb Telescope


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