The James Webb Space Telescope has faced a lot of questions during its arduous journey to completion. Some of the questions have been posed by concerned legislators, mindful of the limitations of the public purse as the telescope’s cost ballooned.
But the budget wrangling and the cost overruns are behind us now. The question that needs an answer is, why is it travelling to its launch site by boat and not airplane?
At this point in time, the ground-breaking space telescope has cost around 10 billion USD. That’s a lot of money. So whatever happens next for Webb, including its journey to the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, will be focused on avoiding any damage or mishaps.
The JWST is due to launch from Kourou in December. That’s 14 years past its initial launch date in 2007. Once in operation at the Sun-Earth L2 orbit, it’ll bring its power to bear on some of the most pressing issues in astronomy and cosmology. The Webb will look back in time to the formation of some of the earliest galaxies in the Universe. It’ll also examine the atmospheres of some potentially habitable exoplanets. Read about its science objectives here. ...