Even if you don’t work in astronomy, cosmology or any other allied branch of physics or engineering, odds are that you might have heard of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), such has been the magnitude of its success. HST has been NASA’s flagship mission for a very long time now, gathering critical data from regions in the cosmos light years away from the earth and helping scientists unravel the many mysteries of our universe. But, believe it or not, even though the Hubble is a landmark feat of advanced engineering, it too can become obsolete. HST has been on mission for more than two decades now, and while it still has functioning capability many scientists believe that the HST is now incapable of pushing the limit of astronomical observations. Astronomers love data. Colorful images are great for public relations but scientists need hard data to study the workings of the Universe. They want to capture light from the early universe, study structure formations that currently can’t be studied and in general push the envelope for what we can see and what is in the dark, as of now. Enter, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), Hubble’s worthy successor, NASA’s next flagship mission, a ~9 billion $ beast of a device and a telescope of unprecedented versatility and sensitivity.
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