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posted by Fnord666 on Saturday October 31 2020, @01:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the reading-tombstones dept.

NASA's Webb to examine objects in the graveyard of the solar system:

Beyond the orbit of Neptune, a diverse collection of thousands of dwarf planets and other relatively small objects dwells in a region called the Kuiper Belt. These often-pristine leftovers from our solar system's days of planet formation are called Kuiper Belt objects, or trans-Neptunian objects. NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope will examine an assortment of these icy bodies in a series of programs called Guaranteed Time Observations shortly after its launch in 2021. The goal is to learn more about how our solar system formed.

"These are objects that are in the graveyard of solar system formation," explained Cornell University's Jonathan Lunine, a Webb Interdisciplinary Scientist who will use Webb to study some of these targets. "They're in a place where they could last for billions of years, and there aren't many places like that in our solar system. We'd love to know what they're like."

By studying these bodies, Lunine and his colleagues hope to learn about which ices were present in the early solar system. These are the coldest worlds to display geologic and atmospheric activity, so scientists are also interested in comparing them with the planets.

[...] The James Webb Space Telescope will be the world's premier space science observatory when it launches in 2021. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.


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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Saturday October 31 2020, @08:47AM (2 children)

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Saturday October 31 2020, @08:47AM (#1071217) Journal

    At this point, it might be better for JWST to fail or the Ariane 5 rocket carrying it to explode, if it helps usher in a new era of cheap, modular telescopes.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 01 2020, @01:22AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 01 2020, @01:22AM (#1071508)

    With cheap crappy images.

    You are not getting your 1000 Fizeau focussed telescopes before you die. Maybe your grandchildren's lifetime.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday November 01 2020, @05:26AM

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Sunday November 01 2020, @05:26AM (#1071548) Journal

      Nah. NASA already has all the technologies needed to launch telescopes that are bigger and better than JWST at a fraction of the ~$10 billion cost. They just need that kick in the ass to change how they do things.

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