Tuesday, January 6, 2009

After Hubble - the James Webb telescope

In 2013, hopefully before the Hubble is a bunch of melted wreckage at the bottom of the ocean, the next Hubble replacement telescope will be launched. Primarily, an IR telescope, it should be able to see as well as Hubble does with visible light. The base of he telescope will be about the size of a tennis court and the mirror is made of 18 smaller segments that are coated with 24 karat gold, making it 95 percent reflective. This beast will live out at the L2 (Lagrange point 2) which is a stable orbit well past the moon at 940,000 miles out. Unlike the Hubble, no upgrades will be possible - at least until we can get a manned flight of some sort out past the moon. We are out of practice since it's been 40 years since anyone has been even 250,000 miles away from home.

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