Building the Webb involves a thousand people from 14 countries using more than $8 billion of federal research dollars, which combine to establish the mission as one of the most ambitious scientific endeavours ever attempted. Driving the excitement and also anxiety is that unlike Hubble, Webb cannot be fixed if something goes wrong. It will be sent to the "L2" point, located a million miles from Earth, making this effort essentially "one strike and you're out." This large team from all over the world must come together for this high-stakes mission and get it right the first time, when the telescope is deployed in ctober 2018.
For 400 years man has peered at the stars through instruments to figure out its place in the universe.With his primitive telescopes, Galileo discovered that the moon was not a perfect orb, that Venus has phases, and that the Milky Way is made of stars. Most significantly, through his observations of the orbiting moons of Jupiter, he proved for the first time that Earth is not at the center of everything. Telescope traces the entire arc of the scientific revolution, overthrowing ancient wisdom to investigate the mysteries of our origins and our future. Over the centuries, with telescopes of larger and larger apertures, scientists have peered ever more clearly into space; discovering the existence of new planets like Uranus and Neptune, proving that the Milky Way is just one of many galaxies, that the universe is expanding and that there was a Big Bang. Hubble, which turned 25 this year, took things to the next level, enabling scientists to determine the age of the universe, confirm the existence of black holes, and even analyse the atmosphere of a planet orbiting another star. The launch of the Kepler Space Telescope in 2011 yielded the paradigm-shifting discovery of planets far outside our solar system, and so numerous that for every star in the sky there is at least one planet.
As Webb launches, many in the scientific community are looking with high anticipation to the future.Telescope discusses how Webb will begin to create a map of all of the places we could potentially go someday, searching, in tandem with other new telescopes, nearby stars for habitable planets. While Webb will allow us to start to sketch out answers to many of these questions, bigger telescopes and new techniques are needed to truly understand our place in the universe and to guide us on our way towards someday making the great journey beyond our solar system.