The James Webb Telescope before its launch from French Guiana, November 2021
NASA to unveil “the deepest image ever taken of our universe” on July 12, thanks to its new James Webb space telescope, Bill Nelson, the head of the American agency, said on Wednesday.
It's farther than anything humanity has looked at before, he told a press conference at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, the center of operations. of this $10 billion engineering gem launched in December and now lying 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.
James Webb is able to look further into the cosmos than any telescope before it thanks to its huge main mirror and instruments that perceive infrared signals, allowing it to peer into space through clouds of dust.
It will explore solar system objects and the atmospheres of exoplanets orbiting other stars, giving us clues as to whether those atmospheres are potentially similar to our own , explained Bill Nelson.
This may answer some of our questions: where do we come from? What else is there? Who are we? And of course, it will answer questions we don't even know yet. #x27;years after the big bang, and exoplanets.
With an efficient launch by NASA partner Arianespace, the telescope could remain operational for 20 years, double the lifespan originally planned, said Pam Melroy, deputy administrator of the space agency. American.
On July 12, NASA intends to release the first James Webb Telescope spectroscopy of a distant planet, an exoplanet.
Spectroscopy is a tool allowing to know the chemical and molecular composition of distant objects, and, in the case of a planet, to determine the elements of its atmosphere, to detect the presence of water or to analyze its soil.
According to Space Telescope Science Institute astronomer Nestor Espinoza, spectroscopies of exoplanets have so far been very limited by comparison with what the James Webb telescope is capable of.
It's like being in a room It's very dark where you only have a little pinhole you can look through, he said of today's technology. With this new telescope you open a huge window, you can see all the little details.