Keeping with the spacey theme... or summink

Hubble is old! You know it, I know it, even NASA knows it. It's been up there a while and it's been giving us an unparalleled view of the universe. But all good things must come to an end. Unfortunately for poor old Hubble this has meant being left to rot.

It's not all doom and gloom for space telescopes though. Whilst scanning El Reg this morning I caught a snipplet on the James Webb Space Telescope. This has been cited as Hubbles replacement and wouldn't you know it... they've only started work on it! Cor Blimey!

Work has begun on the primary mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope at a new, state-of-the-art facility in Alabama. The mirror pieces will be shaped, but not polished, in a $1.2m, 20,000 square foot facility opened this month.

The primary mirror is 6.5m in diameter, and composed of 18 hexagonal pieces. Each of these 1.3m pieces will be made of beryllium. Beryllium tolerates extremely low temperatures very well, deforming much less than glass would in the same conditions. It is also extremely light, and the mirror will have less mass than Hubble's, much smaller, primary mirror.

Although don't get too excited, this bad boy isn't going to be launching anytime this decade.

The James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to launch in 2011. It will hang in space at the Lagrange-2 point of balance between the gravitational influences of the Earth and the sun. Astronomers will use the telescope to look back in the infra-red to the youngest days of the universe in the hope of finding out more about the birth of galaxies and stars, and gaining a better understanding of the size and shape of the universe.

Why not pop along to JWST project page at NASA, go on... you know you want to.


Its all a big conspiracy, they want to use it to spy on us on earth! They will be able to see into our houses and our minds! ARGH!
*puts on tinfoil hat*

By Nightmare |

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