James Webb Space Telescope Progresses Toward Launch
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is scheduled to take off next year and astronomers believe the super-powerful spier is experts' best hope to date of finding life beyond Earth.
The JWST is the successor to the Hubble Telescope and is much more powerful.
The successor will be able to see further into space, as well as more accurately measure the content of water, carbon dioxide and other components in the atmosphere of an exoplanet – a planet outside of our solar system – as well as tell scientists more about the size and distance these planets are from their host stars.
As a result, the giant telescope which sports a huge mirror to garner light, is being heralded as the best chance of finding alien life.
The James Webb telescope will help to find alien life
With a launch scheduled for next year, scientists feel that it is only a matter of time before alien life is discovered.
Matt Mountain, director and Webb telescope scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, said: ”What we didn't know five years ago is that perhaps 10 to 20 per cent of stars around us have Earth-size planets in the habitable zone.
Construction of the James Webb Space Telescope
"It's within our grasp to pull off a discovery that will change the world forever.
“It is going to take a continuing partnership between NASA, science, technology, the US and international space endeavours, as exemplified by the James Webb Space Telescope, to build the next bridge to humanity's future.”
The JWST will get a closer look at the TRAPPIST-1 system
Amazing Hubble Space Images
Mon, March 27, 2017
These stunning images from the Hubble Space Telescope are taken from the April 2015 issue of National Geographic Magazine.
Bubble Nebula, also known as NGC 7653, which is an emission nebula located 11 000 light-years away
Mr Mountain added: "Just imagine the moment, when we find potential signatures of life.
“Imagine the moment when the world wakes up and the human race realises that its long loneliness in time and space may be over - the possibility we're no longer alone in the universe.”
The JWST will replace Hubble
However, the £6billion telescope is expected to last just five years, so its underling, Hubble, is already shortlisting planets for the newcomer to examine as scientists face a race against time, Kevin Stevenson at the University of Chicago told New Scientist.
He said: “A training set is probably a good way of looking at it.”