NASA unveils gold-covered telescope that will put the Hubble to shame
NASA has finally unveiled the giant successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb, which is equipped with a collapsible honeycomb-like mirror made of 18 gleaming, gold-covered pieces.
Scheduled to be launched in 2018, the $10 billion tennis-court-sized telescope is the result of a joint effort involving NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.
Each coffee table-sized mirror segment, weighing roughly 46 pounds (21kg), is made from beryllium and is coated with a fine film of vaporized gold to optimize the reflection of infrared light.
The James Webb telescope has been described as a 'time machine' that could help unravel the secrets of our cosmos.
Unlike The Hubble, the new instrument will look in the infrared part of the spectrum, instead of capturing visible light. This will allow it to better see through clouds of gas and dust, where stars are being born, which should give us a view farther back to the beginning of the universe.
Once launched, the James Webb will be the world's biggest and most powerful telescope, capable of peering back 200 million years after the Big Bang.
Learn more about The James Webb telescope in the video below: