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James Webb Space Telescope Mirrors Will Piece Together Cosmic Puzzles November 02 2016

James Webb Space Telescope Mirrors Will Piece Together Cosmic Puzzles

The primary mirror of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope that consists of 18 hexagonal mirrors looks like a giant puzzle piece standing in t.

See how NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, a huge space observatory, will probe the universe from its perch in deep space.

While NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will be capable of finding signs of life on nearby exoplanets after its 2018 launch, a bona fide hunt for aliens beyond Earth's neighborhood will require even bigger instruments, experts say.

James Webb Space Telescope Mirror Seen in Full Bloom #NASA #ImageoftheDay

James Webb Space Telescope Mirror Seen in Full Bloom

James Webb Space Telescope Primary Mirror Prepared for Testing at Johnson Space Center #NASA #ImageoftheDay

Webb Telescope Mirror Prepared for Testing at Johnson Space Center

James Webb Space Telescope Primary Mirror Prepared for Testing at Johnson Space Center (Source: NASA image of the Day)

Through a process called "Wavefront Sensing and Control," or WFSC, software aboard the James Webb Space Telescope will compute the best position for each of 18 mirrors and one secondary mirror, and then adjust the positions. Engineers used a 1/6 scale model to test the WFSC software.

The test bed telescope, a scale mode of the Webb optical telescope element at Ball Aerospace, was used to verify the functionality of the wavefront sensing and control algorithms developed for the Webb telescope.

If the Hubble telescope is able to capture this many stars in a small portion of the universe, how can we possibly be so arrogant to think that we are alone?

In pictures: Top 20 Hubble Space Telescope images

Hubble photograph of the Sagittarius Star Cloud, providing this image of some of the oldest inhabitants of our galaxy

Revealed for the first time in all its glory - the main mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope, which will be launched in 2018. JWST is regarded as the successor to Hubble, and will carry technologies capable of detecting the light from the first stars to shine in the Universe.

James Webb's mirror is revealed

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