James Webb Will Allow for New Ways of Discovering the Cosmos


On December 25, 2021, NASA will launch the eagerly awaited James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). James Edwin Webb, who was crucial to the development of NASA and the Apollo program, is honored by having his name attached to the JWST. The JWST will be the most potent space telescope ever created, featuring a primary mirror with a diameter of 6.5 meters. Its goal is to use infrared light to observe the universe and contribute to the resolution of some of the most fundamental cosmological queries. We will examine the features, prowess, and potential outcomes of this trailblazing mission in this article.

Intent and objectives.

The main objective of the JWST is to study the universe in infrared light. Given that this type of light has longer wavelengths than visible light, it can pass through gas and dust clouds that block out visible light. The goal of the JWST is to contribute to the resolution of some of the most important questions in cosmology, including the formation and evolution of galaxies, the origin of stars and planetary systems, and the existence of extraterrestrial life. The JWST will open up new research opportunities and shed light on some of the biggest enigmas of the cosmos by observing the universe with unheard-of sensitivity and detail.

Instruments and abilities.

The JWST has four primary scientific instruments that will give it the ability to study and observe the infrared light emitted by celestial objects with previously unheard-of sensitivity and resolution.

The main imager on the JWST is the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam), which can capture images of protoplanetary disks, star-forming regions, and distant galaxies. The Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) is made to capture the spectra of far-off galaxies, revealing details about their chemical makeup and star formation histories. Exoplanets, brown dwarfs, and debris disks are some of the cooler celestial objects that can be observed using the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). Last but not least, the Fine Guidance Sensor/Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS/NIRISS) is built to offer high-precision pointing and the ability for precise astrometry, which will aid in the identification and characterization of exoplanets.

These tools will provide the JWST with previously unheard-of sensitivity and resolution for observing and examining the infrared light emitted by celestial objects. This will make it possible for astronomers to study the universe in new ways and make ground-breaking discoveries that were previously impractical.

Introduction and deployment.

On December 25, 2021, an Ariane 5 rocket will take off from French Guiana carrying the JWST. The launch window spans December 18, 2021, through January 7, 2022.

After being launched, the JWST will proceed to the second Lagrange point (L2), which is about 1.5 million kilometers away from Earth. The JWST can observe from a stable platform here that is protected from the heat and light of the Earth and the Sun, making this location ideal.

When the JWST reaches L2, a delicate and challenging deployment procedure will begin, taking several weeks. Deploying the sunshield, which will shield the telescope and its equipment from the heat of the Sun and the Earth, will be the first step. The instruments will be released next, then the mirror. To guarantee the mission’s success, each of these actions needs to be carried out with the utmost care and precision.

Partnerships and collaboration.

The JWST is a joint venture between NASA, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and the European Space Agency (ESA). Each organization is helping to develop and carry out the mission.

Key elements of the spacecraft and instruments, as well as the Ariane 5 rocket, are all provided by the ESA. The Fine Guidance Sensor/NIRISS instrument is being developed with help from the CSA. The JWST is being developed by NASA, which is also providing the spacecraft, the sunshield, and three of the four scientific instruments.

These organizations’ cooperation has allowed them to develop a mission that is more ambitious than any one of them could have achieved independently. The JWST has evolved into a truly global endeavor that will help the scientific community and the general public around the world by sharing knowledge, resources, and technology.

Possible outcomes and discoveries.

The JWST has the potential to fundamentally alter how we perceive the universe and yield ground-breaking findings across a variety of scientific disciplines.

Studying exoplanets, planets that orbit stars other than our Sun, is one of the most fascinating fields of study that the JWST will enable. Exoplanets’ atmospheres can be found and studied by the JWST, which will reveal information about their compositions, temperatures, and potential habitability. The fundamental question of whether or not we are alone in the universe may be resolved as a result of this.

By observing the light from the first galaxies that formed, the JWST will also be able to learn more about the early universe, just after the Big Bang. As a result, we will be able to investigate the universe’s early history and gain knowledge about how galaxies and the first stars formed and developed.

The JWST’s ability to study the formation of stars and planetary systems will also shed light on the processes that give rise to and mold the cosmos. This will enable us to better comprehend how, over the course of billions of years, our own solar system developed.

The JWST has the potential to produce some truly ground-breaking findings that could fundamentally alter how we perceive the universe.

Risks and Challenges.

The JWST mission is extremely difficult and complex, and it entails numerous operational and technical risks. The deployment procedure, which necessitates extreme precision and accuracy to guarantee the mission’s success, is one of the main risks. The ability of the telescope to observe and make scientific discoveries could be jeopardized by any malfunction or deviation.

The instruments’ sensitivity to radiation and other environmental factors poses another risk. As a result of its arduous and remote operating environment design, the JWST’s delicate components face numerous difficulties. Major delays or even mission failure could result from any damage or malfunction.

The JWST’s budget has also been a significant issue ever since the project’s inception. Significant cost overruns and delays in the mission have led to concerns about its viability and sustainability.

Despite these difficulties and dangers, the JWST is still a highly anticipated and optimistic mission that has the potential to fundamentally alter how we perceive the cosmos. In anticipation of a successful and fruitful mission, the scientific community and the general public eagerly await its launch and deployment.


Our understanding of the universe may be completely altered by the James Webb Space Telescope, a ground-breaking project. The JWST will enable researchers to examine exoplanets, the early universe, and the formation of stars and planetary systems in unprecedented depth and sensitivity thanks to its potent infrared instruments.

However, the mission also faces a number of risks and difficulties, such as operational and technical challenges, environmental risks, and financial limitations. The careful planning and execution of the mission’s deployment and operation, as well as the instruments’ resilience in the harsh and isolating environment of space, will determine the mission’s success.

Despite these difficulties, the scientific community and the general public are still optimistic and excited about the JWST’s potential to uncover novel truths and broaden our understanding of the cosmos. We are incredibly excited to see this amazing telescope launched and put into use, as well as the amazing scientific insights and discoveries it will produce. 

An Analysis by Pooyan Ghamari, Swiss Economist with Expertise in the Digital World 




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  4. Canadian Space Agency. (2021). James Webb Space Telescope. Retrieved from https://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/satellites/james-webb-space-telescope.asp

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