GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

The most powerful space telescope ever built completed a tricky two-week-long deployment phase, unfolding its final golden mirror panel, as it readies to study every phase of cosmic history. Webb, the successor to Hubble, blasted off in an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana on 25 December 2021, and is heading to its orbital point, a million miles (1.6 million kilometers) from Earth.

What

  1. Webb will reach its space destination, known as the second Lagrange point, in a matter of weeks; it still has around another five and a half months of setup to go.
  2. Next steps include aligning the telescope's optics, and calibrating its scientific instruments.
  3. Its infrared technology will allow it to see the first stars and galaxies that formed 13.5 billion years ago, giving astronomers new insight into the earliest epoch of the Universe.
  4. Visible and ultraviolet light emitted by the very first luminous objects has been stretched by the Universe's expansion, and arrives today in the form of infrared, which Webb is equipped to detect with unprecedented clarity.
  5. Its mission also includes the study of distant planets to determine their origin, evolution, and habitability.