James Webb Space Telescope Nearing Completion

Article written: 2 Sep , 2011
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
by

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The James Webb Space Telescope or JWST has long been touted as the replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope. The telescope is considered to be the one of the most ambitious space science projects ever undertaken – this complexity may be its downfall. Cost overruns now threaten the project with cancellation. Despite these challenges, the telescope is getting closer to completion. As it stands now, the telescope has served as a technical classroom on the intricacies involved with such a complex project. It has also served to develop new technologies that are used by average citizens in their daily lives.

Although compared to Hubble, the two telescopes are dissimilar in a number of ways. The JWST is three times as powerful as Hubble in its infrared capabilities. JWST’s primary mirror is 21.3 feet across (this provides about seven times the amount of collecting power that Hubble currently employs).

The JWST’s mirrors were polished using computer modeling guides that allowed engineers to predict that they will enter into the proper alignment when in space. Each of the mirrors on the JWST has been smoothed down to within 1/1000th the thickness of a human hair. The JWST traveled to points across the country to assemble and test the JWST’s various components.

Eventually the mirrors were then sent to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Once there they measured how the mirrors reacted at extremely cold temperatures. With these tests complete, the mirrors were given a thin layer of gold. Gold is very efficient when it comes to reflecting light in the infrared spectrum toward the JWST’s sensors.

A comparison of the primary mirror used by Hubble and the primary mirror array used by the James Webb Space Telescope. Photo Credit: NASA

The telescope’s array of mirrors is comprised of beryllium, which produces a lightweight and more stable form of glass. The JWST requires lightweight yet strong mirrors so that they can retain their shape in the extreme environment of space. These mirrors have to be able to function perfectly in temperatures reaching minus 370 degrees Fahrenheit.

After all of this is done, still more tests await the telescope. It will be placed into the same vacuum chamber that tested the Apollo spacecraft before they were sent on their historic mission’s to the moon. This will ensure that the telescopes optics will function properly in a vacuum.

A life-sized model of the JWST was placed on display in Seattle, Washington - it was several stories tall and weighed several tons. Photo Credit: Rob Gutro/ NASA

With all of the effort placed into the JWST – a lot of spinoff technology was developed that saw its way into the lives of the general populace. Several of these – had to be invented prior to the start of the JWST program.

“Ten technologies that are required for JWST to function did not exist when the project was first planned, and all have been successfully achieved. These include both near and mid-infrared detectors with unprecedented sensitivity, the sunshield material, the primary mirror segment assembly, the NIRSpec microshutter array, the MIRI cryo-cooler, and several more,” said the James Webb Space Telescope’s Deputy Project Scientist Jason Kalirai. Kalirai holds a PhD in astrophysics and carries out research for the Space Telescope Science Institute. “The new technologies in JWST have led to many spinoffs, including the production of new electric motors that outperform common gear boxes, design for high precision optical elements for cameras and cell phones, and more accurate measurements of human vision for people about to undergo Laser Refractive Surgery.”

The James Webb Space Telescope encapsulated atop the Ariane V rocket tapped launch it, next to an early image of the telescope. Image Credit: NASA

If all goes according to plan, the James Webb Space Telescope will be launched from French Guiana atop the European Space Agency’s Arianne V Rocket. The rationale behind the Ariane V’s selection was based on capabilities – and economics.

“The Ariane V was chosen as the launch vehicle for JWST at the time because there was no U.S. rocket with the required lift capacity,” Kalirai said. “Even today, the Ariane V is a better tested vehicle. Moreover, the Ariane is provided at no cost by the Europeans while we would have had to pay for a U.S. rocket.”

It still remains to be seen as to whether or not the JWST will even fly. As of July 6 of this year the project is slated to be cancelled by the United States Congress. The James Webb Space Telescope was initially estimated at costing $1.6 billion. As of this writing an estimated $3 billion has been spent on the project and it is has been estimated that the telescope is about three-quarters complete.


78 Responses

  1. IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE says

    Fahrenheit? Feh!

    • William Sparrow says

      C’mon IVAN, give us the conversion…….188 C or as Torborn states below, 50K. Thank you ESA for the ride since the US can’t seem to get its S_ _ _ together. Perhaps a European firm can complete the other quarter of the work left to be done. Get the damn scope in the sky! Sorry Torbjorn, I spelled your name incorrectly again!

  2. petar pavlov says

    It’s just one of those things you have to finish, no matter what your mom says

  3. petar pavlov says

    It’s just one of those things you have to finish, no matter what your mom says

  4. Jan Verplancke says

    I would even be willing to share a few bucks to make this thing fly… in fact, as european, we would do so anyway if Ariane is flying free 🙂

  5. Anonymous says

    Damn I hope this thing flies. I will lose my last ounce of faith in humanity if it doesn’t.

  6. Kevin Girard says

    If people would wake up and realize we’re going nowhere with a monetary system like this one, this project would have already launched long ago and we would be on the next step to going to space.

    On a non-whiney note, I am super happy that work on the JWST is still going, we need this to happen. Good job.

  7. Anonymous says

    NASA needs to take immediate action to save this program. Stop paying lip service to members of Congress that are ticked off by the cost overruns. Give them their pound of flesh and fire or reassign the manager that have led these cost overruns. Reform the acquisition process to show Congress that you’re trying to get costs under control. Find ways to accelerate the launch and reduce risks while minimizing tax payer expense.

    IMO NASA and these project managers just don’t get it. This program has a HUGE bullseye on it’s back. Sure the costs are miniscule when compared to projects like SLS or just any DoD weapons program. However Congress is looking for low hanging fruit to cut and this one is pretty low on the tree.

    NASA has only itself to blame if this project dies.

  8. Anonymous says

    NASA needs to take immediate action to save this program. Stop paying lip service to members of Congress that are ticked off by the cost overruns. Give them their pound of flesh and fire or reassign the manager that have led these cost overruns. Reform the acquisition process to show Congress that you’re trying to get costs under control. Find ways to accelerate the launch and reduce risks while minimizing tax payer expense.

    IMO NASA and these project managers just don’t get it. This program has a HUGE bullseye on it’s back. Sure the costs are miniscule when compared to projects like SLS or just any DoD weapons program. However Congress is looking for low hanging fruit to cut and this one is pretty low on the tree.

    NASA has only itself to blame if this project dies.

  9. JWST has not even had a CDR yet. Hardly “nearing completion”.

    • WaxyMary says

      But Keith, the claim is 3/4, surely we can’t cast any aspersions upon the report from the news handout.

      Like you, I too find it hard to choke down, even with some buttermilk to speed the process along. This cracker is just a wee bit tough and dry, not to mention the weevils we can see without cracking it open.

      Mary

    • Anonymous says

      Keith has a vendetta against JWST & NASA as a whole. which makes any statement he makes on JWST suspect.

      If JWST is cancelled, the money saved will not go to new NASA missions, as Keith tries to claim. It would only be used as a further excuse to cut NASA’s budget.

      • TerryG says

        With respect, you haven’t offered anything to challenge the content of Keith’s statement. Attempting to discredit the source doesn’t count. There is plenty of time for additional delays with the JWST to crop up. Personally, I’ll believe the JWST is “nearing completion” when it’s handed over to ESA for launch.

      • Anonymous says

        If the source is discredited, their claims become irrelevant.

      • Anonymous says

        If the source is discredited, their claims become irrelevant.

      • Torbjörn Larsson says

        Only if the claims have no references. (And why bother entertaining them in that case?)

        But as I understand it is wrong, JWST has passed many Critical Design Reviews:

        “JWST passed the Mission CDR in April – the largest mission milestone to date. The Mission CDR encompassed other recent successful CDRs, including the four science instruments and Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM), the Optical Telescope Element, and the Sunshield. The Mission CDR focused on validation of the mission design, included integrated performance modeling, and the verification plan to test the observatory. The Mission CDR officially approved the observatory design. Many flight components of the telescope with long lead times are already underway, including the mirrors (see ‘JWST’s First Primary Mirror Polished to Specifications’ in this Newsletter below) and primary mirror backplane structure. The final CDR for the Spacecraft will be held next year.” [The Webb Update #8 – June 2010]

      • Torbjörn Larsson says

        Only if the claims have no references. (And why bother entertaining them in that case?)

        But as I understand it is wrong, JWST has passed many Critical Design Reviews:

        “JWST passed the Mission CDR in April – the largest mission milestone to date. The Mission CDR encompassed other recent successful CDRs, including the four science instruments and Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM), the Optical Telescope Element, and the Sunshield. The Mission CDR focused on validation of the mission design, included integrated performance modeling, and the verification plan to test the observatory. The Mission CDR officially approved the observatory design. Many flight components of the telescope with long lead times are already underway, including the mirrors (see ‘JWST’s First Primary Mirror Polished to Specifications’ in this Newsletter below) and primary mirror backplane structure. The final CDR for the Spacecraft will be held next year.” [The Webb Update #8 – June 2010]

      • Torbjörn Larsson says

        Only if the claims have no references. (And why bother entertaining them in that case?)

        But as I understand it is wrong, JWST has passed many Critical Design Reviews:

        “JWST passed the Mission CDR in April – the largest mission milestone to date. The Mission CDR encompassed other recent successful CDRs, including the four science instruments and Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM), the Optical Telescope Element, and the Sunshield. The Mission CDR focused on validation of the mission design, included integrated performance modeling, and the verification plan to test the observatory. The Mission CDR officially approved the observatory design. Many flight components of the telescope with long lead times are already underway, including the mirrors (see ‘JWST’s First Primary Mirror Polished to Specifications’ in this Newsletter below) and primary mirror backplane structure. The final CDR for the Spacecraft will be held next year.” [The Webb Update #8 – June 2010]

      • Anonymous says

        I’m sure Keith will soon be back to acknowledge his error.

        I’m very sure.

      • Per Torbjörn Larsson “The final CDR for the Spacecraft will be held next year.”

      • WaxyMary says

        Keith, your original comment, the source of these few comments in rebuttal, is shown below. It is hardly kind to show in your words the lack of ‘final’, where you have ‘not even had a’.

        WST has not even had a CDR yet. Hardly “nearing completion”.

        Your lack of respect, as evidenced herein, required this yanking on your leash. Bad boy! heel!

        Mary

      • (Sigh) When lacking in facts they attack the messenger, TerryG.

      • “FIncher” Please show me where I claim that “Webb money claimed will go to new missions”. Odds are that future money not spent on Webb will either pay for existing missions or go somewhere outside of space science. This is never a zero sum, tit-for-tat game.

  10. JWST has not even had a CDR yet. Hardly “nearing completion”.

  11. Torbjörn Larsson says

    It _is_ a sexy telescope!

    Btw, “minus 370 degrees Fahrenheit” is ~ 50 K for us non-US citizens.

    Good roundup, but the final note doesn’t cover the dire situation in the same way.

    Officially given projected final cost is now 3 times as much (~ 9 GUSD), and the projected launch date is now 3 times as much (~ 2018) as “three-quarters complete”* out of a now 9 year project (started around 2002). And who knows what it will really land at?

    Actually, the Bad Astronomer dug up data on the initially projected cost as ~ 0.9 GUSD, so it is now 10 times as costly as envisioned -96.

    Or -93, the initial post-Kepler planning start; do these things really need 30 years to fruition? No wonder they are made to cost as much.

    But, too bad Kalirai let slip the technology gain is already there. (Actually I don’t think it is true, any startups would still benefit from the project and its needs.) Since economists claim “sunk cost” is not a valid measure of projects, they will conclude that from here on it will only cost, not contribute (but for science).

    —————-
    * Which refers to assembly, but that is what I can compare with here. Another way of stating is that the project is half way, “only” 7 more years to go.

    • Anonymous says

      Honestly, I think the main reason it is costing so much more for this (and other) projects, is that the project isn’t receiving the required funds to get things done right the first time and have to stretch things out and thus pay more people over a longer period of time.

      Also, the eighth paragraph shows why Congress really needs to put MORE money into NASA’s coffers. Doing so would provide all kinds of dirtside benefits that can’t be predicted before hand.

      • Torbjörn Larsson says

        Yes, most projects cost more if they are bottlenecked by funds. And unfortunately all NASA’s projects after Apollo/Saturn moon landing have been such.

      • Torbjörn Larsson says

        Yes, most projects cost more if they are bottlenecked by funds. And unfortunately all NASA’s projects after Apollo/Saturn moon landing have been such.

    • Grats, Torbjörn for posting about the only non-whiney, let alone lucid comment in this thread!

  12. Anonymous says

    If the U.S.A. is unable/unwilling to complete the JWST, then for goodness sake give this momentous project to the chinese/russians, who have the money/balls to do this project for the good of all humanity.

    • Anonymous says

      Even ‘giving’ it wouldn’t come for free (and are you sure they even want it?) and it’s not flipping likely that we’d turn over some of our best infrared sensing technology to them, either.

      • WaxyMary says

        @delphinus100,

        It does seem to be true that we only share the data and not the instruments or their construction and methods. If you think about this you will see this means we must deploy or destroy, there is not another set of choices is there.

        http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NukeEm

        Mary

        “I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.” —Ellen Ripley, Aliens

  13. Anonymous says

    We already have ELEVEN (5 billion dollar each) aircraft carriers to the Russians’ and Chinese’ ONE each; why don’t we cancel just ONE of our next round of by-now-superfluous projected supercarriers and we’ll have more than enough money to finish this once-in-a-lifetime, one-of-a-kind space telescope project.

    • Anonymous says

      (sigh) We both know it’s not going to happen, and if it did, the savings would go to service the debt. Simple as that.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

      • Anonymous says

        I’m afraid you’re right, and that you and I — and tens of thousands of others like us who love astronomy and cosmology and expanding humankind’s knowledge in general — will end up pulling our hair and gnashing our teeth as the gears of government grind inexorably toward another monumental decision-making blunder. I suppose whenever the decision has to be made whether to go forward with an opportunity for exploration or preparation for another conflagration, the latter is the default, knee-jerk choice of the powers that be.

  14. Anonymous says

    It baffles me that Congress is so up in arms over JWST cost overruns but looks the other way on wasting way more in the name of stimulating the economy.

  15. Anonymous says

    The IR observation of the universe out to z > 10 will permit us to learn a number of things. I and a fellow in Italy have worked out the phenomenology of gravity waves produced by early gravitons, where these gravity waves act to lens the trajectory of light and matter. The appearance of bright optical caustics from sunlight on the bottom of a swimming pool is a sort of model of this. The SDSS has found filamentary structures of galaxies with have this feature as well, and the WMAP anisotropy data of the CMB have similar features. The JWST will then allow us to detect large scale structure further back in time, or equivalently out in space. The observations should give more data on PopIII stars and the earliest evolution of galaxies. We may also collect some data from the so called dark age of the universe.

    If the JWST is cancelled the money spent so far will be essentially wasted, and the money not spent will go nowhere.

    LC

  16. Anonymous says

    “”the telescope is about three-quarters complete……..””

    If Congress cancels the JWST, we’ll all get the same sad, sick feeling we get when we go to the KSC Saturn 5 Visitor Center or the Johnson Space Center and see those two perfectly good and perfectly flyable Saturn’s just sitting there being unused multi-billion-dollar museum pieces. I hope we don’t make the same tragic mistake with the JWST.

  17. robbi luscombe newman says

    just ditch a few useless military projects…plenty of those around..money spent on human endeavour is far superior to money spent on human tragedy..

  18. Gregg Weber says

    I just don’t like the idea of one launch that carries everything. If it fails then all is lost. If it were possible to launch two or more and then join them together then the loss of one wouldn’t be so bad.

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