The New Era of Space
Updated: Feb 17
The new James Webb Space Telescope, which launched just a few weeks ago on December 24, 2021, has increased the excitement of astronomers and space enthusiasts all around the world, but why? The James Webb Space Telescope also Webb is an infrared telescope that is the successor of the Hubble Space Telescope which helped us pin down the age of the universe and the rate at which the universe is expanding, two things that I can hardly comprehend. Webb’s goal is to observe distant objects too far for even our most advanced observatories to see, like the Keck observatory in Hawaii, which has the ability to see up to 10 billion light-years away. This is why it had to be made to see infrared light to be able to see these very distant and faint objects. Webb is actually still on its journey to its orbiting location which is 1.5 million kilometers or 0.9 million miles away, which is almost 4 times farther away than the moon is to us. Hubble was only 547 kilometers (340 miles) away from the Earth, and It has been over 30 years since we launched Hubble into space.
Space exploration is more than just looking at stars and planets, it is the science of finding what we really are a part of. Just on the edge of most of our realities, a place few have ever been to is the birthplace of everything in the past, present, and future. Now it is putting too much faith into Webb, but this advanced telescope could unlock mysteries of the universe far beyond our understanding and far beyond most to accept. Space is the next frontier because it is beyond our imagination anything could be out there: beautiful planets, stars that make the sun look like an ant, galaxies shaped like a donut, other life, we could even find out we are an oversized atom in the spilled milk of a giant. On the other hand, we could find out that our nightmares are true and that we are wrong. It has happened before, new advancement proves previous beliefs were based on bad data and wrong beliefs, as with the revelation that we are not the center of the universe. What if Webb tells us the universe is not infinite, maybe it is even shrinking? It is good to keep an open mind because after all, we are ants trying to see the ocean’s floor. We do not know what is at the bottom, we do not know what lives out there, and we do not know if we will succumb to death before we find out.
We once thought that the Earth was the center of the universe, and now we think there might not even be a center to the universe. Space and the universe itself are the great big equalizers in our world, no matter where you are from no matter who you are we all share the same world and the same cosmos. Everything we know now will soon just be a part of history books that kids will say they read but never really did. I have no idea what space truly is or where it all started, but I do know that we are on the edge of a new scientific discovery that will change our perspectives of where and what we are in the universe.
When Hubble was launched, the world did not know all the questions that it would answer and the new perspective of life it would give us. The Webb telescope has been in the works for over twenty years! An immense amount of hours has been put in, and countless engineering breakthroughs had to be made for this telescope to work, probably. Also, the additional challenge of only being able to make one, with no means to repair if anything is damaged during its travel to its orbiting point. This has to be one of the most challenging feats of engineering in the modern space area, and I am very excited to see what comes from this