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The telescope Hubble's successor is scheduled to launch in June 2013

NASA officials unveiled a model of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), a new telescope which is expected to replace the aging Hubble space telescope.  The $4.5 billion space telescope is bigger than the Hubble and will sit further from Earth.  The total expected cost of the project is almost $3 billion cheaper than the original Hubble project.

The JWST will be 80ft long by 40ft. high and will have a mirror nearly three times the size of the one used on the Hubble.  The 21ft. mirror will allow scientists to see further into the history of space.  Norhrop Grumman, the contractor responsible for building the JWST telescope, expects it to have a 10-year lifespan.

The full-scale model of the JWST is currently on display near the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.  Although budget issues continue to plague NASA, all technical and cost schedules have reportedly been met for the past 20 months.

"We're making excellent progress in meeting all of our plans and commitments for a mid-2013 launch," said Martin Mohan, a Northrop Grumman project manager.

Until JWST is launched, NASA plans on continuing to service the Hubble -- NASA plans on launching at least one mission designed specifically for Hubble repair.


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RE: What hubble successor?
By teldar on 5/15/2007 6:12:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
last I heard it was designed to operate in only one wavelength region, infrared


I havn't heard much about it, however, if it has a mirror, it can operate in our visible light spectrum. It would be able to operate in infrared and ultraviolet and anything else that can reflect off a mirror if we have the sensors for them. Since we can do IR and UV cameras as well as Visible, it should be able to do all three if they put all the sensors in. There shouldn't be any way to limit it to one band of light unless it is poorly equipped.

Hopefully they are smarter than that. Since they can design it, I would think they probably are.

T


RE: What hubble successor?
By Shadowself on 5/15/2007 6:58:04 PM , Rating: 3
JWST is infrared only.

This is NOT one "color" like was implied or even one wavelength. IR is a very broad band of "colors" that your eyes just cannot see. In fact IR is a much, much broader band than the visible spectrum.

While the article seems to make a big deal about how much larger the JWST is than the Hubble, this larger size is necesssary in order to deal with the significantly longer wavelenths of IR as compared to visible.

What the IR bands utilized in JWST will allow is looking more deeply into regions that Hubble could not. Different areas of space have different opacities due to what's there. JWST will give a different picture of what's there -- sometimes much further than Hubble.

It is a different instrument. It's not just a "better, newer Hubble".


RE: What hubble successor?
By maven81 on 5/15/2007 10:22:07 PM , Rating: 2
I wasn't implying that it's just one wavelength. Indeed the near and far infrared cover a broader area of the spectrum. However, the JWST was designed from the start to be an infrared observatory. It's not a general purpose observatory like the hubble. As you said, a different instrument.
There's definitely a surge in infrared astronomy these days, but I'm sure visible light has not outlived it's usefullness.


RE: What hubble successor?
By Maxmars on 5/16/2007 11:14:10 PM , Rating: 2
Excellent explanation!


RE: What hubble successor?
By theapparition on 5/16/2007 9:55:15 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
however, if it has a mirror, it can operate in our visible light spectrum.

Not true. Telescope mirrors are specialized, not the same as your bathroom mirror. It's the coating on the glass that gives its spectrum viewing capacity. Certain coatings are better than others in a particular spectrum. Unfortunately, there is no "one-size-fits-all" coating. Aluminum preforms well in the visible spectrum, but does not reflect IR or UV very well. If I remember correctly, gold reflects IR the best, so if that's the intended application, the mirror most likely will be coated with gold.


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