(Washington) NASA will release a “deep picture taken of our universe” on July 12 with its new James Webb Space Telescope, U.S. Agency President Bill Nelson said Wednesday.
Released yesterday at 5:44 p.m.
“It’s farther than mankind has ever seen,” he told a news conference at the Baltimore Space Telescope Science Institute. Launched in December at $ 10 billion, it is now 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.
James Webb is more than any telescope can be thankful for infrared signal sensing devices that allow it to peer through its vast mainstream glass and dust clouds.
“It explores the atmospheres of exoplanets orbiting solar system objects and other stars, giving clues as to whether their atmospheres are similar to ours,” Nelson said.
“It may answer some of our questions: Where are we from? What else is there? Who are we? Of course, this will answer questions we do not yet know.”
James Webb should make it possible for the Big Bang in particular to observe the first galaxies and exoplanets formed a few hundred million years later.
Thanks to the efficient launch of NASA partner Arianespace, the telescope will be in operation for 20 years, doubling its originally planned lifespan, said Pam Melroy, deputy executive of the U.S. space agency.
On July 12, NASA plans to release the first James Webb telescope spectroscopy of a distant planet.
Spectroscopy is a tool for determining the chemical and molecular composition of distant objects, and in the case of a planet, it can be used to determine its atmosphere, detect the presence of water, or analyze its soil.
According to Nestor Espinoza, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, the spectra of extraterrestrials so far are very small compared to the capabilities of the James Webb telescope.
“It’s like being in a very dark room and there is only a small hole you can see,” he said of current technology. With this new telescope, “you’ve opened a big window and you can see all the little details”.