The primary mirror for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will consist of 18 separate mirror segments. The optics for the primary is now finally coming together with the mounting of the first mirror segment . Assembly of the full primary will occur over the next year and the curious can watch it come together minute-by-minute on the JWST Webbcams. Those wanting to see faster progress can break out their Benny Hill music[*] and watch JWST Time-Lapse movies.
[*] The tune is actually Yakety Sax.
JWST will be able to analyze the atmospheres of exoplanets:
If we find an exoplanet with significant oxygen in its atmosphere, we will have a huge piece of evidence for extraterrestrial life. Couple this telescope with this one:
which is also launching soon, and we'll have a real chance of finding life in the next 5 years or so.
It is truly an exciting time to be alive!
Well, it sorta does, but with a Death Star-like multi-beam laser cannon mounted on it instead of the usual bridge.
They cancelled the TPF (Terrestrial Planet Finder) so maybe instead we'll have the TPD (Terrestrial Planet Destroyer).
Hey, it's a great way to get DOD to pay part of it.
and we'll have a real chance of finding life in the next 5 years or so.
Ha! You really think JWST will have launched by then [space.com]??
We'll see . . .
Doesn't seem that unlikely. It is scheduled for launch in 2018...given the usual delays it's probably in space by 2020 and getting data by 2021. I can wait 6 years, anyway.