After decades of hard work and anticipation, the moment has finally arrived: the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest space observatory in history, has launched.
With 100 times the observational power of Hubble, the JWST promises countless new discoveries about our incredible universe, including vital clues about whether we humans are truly alone.
Natasha Batalha, an exoplanet scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, is one of the thousands of scientists who has been eagerly awaiting the first observations from the JWST. As the co-lead of the largest exoplanet observing campaign focused on the atmospheres of “Super-Earth” and “sub-Neptune” planets, Batalha already has time reserved on the telescope, which is scheduled to become operational in several months.
“There have been over 1,200 people involved in building the James Webb Space Telescope, not to include the over 3,000 people spread across 450 different institutions in 40 different countries who are all going to be involved in analyzing the first year of JWST data,” said Batalha in a new episode of Motherboard’s “Space Show” posted on Wednesday. “The magnitude of the energy and the excitement is just so incredible.”
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