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World’s Most Powerful Space Telescope Launched On Christmas Day

By Tom Chivers writing for UnHerd

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launched on Christmas day. The plan is for it to make it a million and a half kilometres from the Earth, a day trip compared to the billions needed to get to the outer planets. And it doesn’t have to worry about planetary conjunctions — if you want to get to Pluto, you need to slingshot around the other planets to get up speed, and you need the planets in certain positions to do that. (New Horizons, which got to Pluto in 2015, had to launch in January 2006, and if it didn’t, its $800 million budget would have been wasted.) The James Webb can just head off in the right direction for a month or so to reach its destination, with minimal fancy orbital mechanics required.

What's most fascinating is what the telescope could potentially find. The JWST will send us astonishing pictures from the dawn of creation, just as the Hubble did, only more so. But it’s the search for life in this brilliant, clever way that's most interesting.

Read the full Article at UnHerd