NASA at Its Best

The mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope during a media unveiling at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center at Greenbelt, Md., in 2016. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
The Webb Telescope shows what a purpose-driven space program can accomplish.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE O n Christmas Day, NASA’s long-awaited James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) was finally launched into space.

The JWST is, by far, the greatest astronomical observatory ever built. Its primary mirror is 21 feet across, triple that of Hubble, giving it ten times the light-gathering capacity. Add to that the fact that its infrared optics are ten times as sensitive, and the result is a telescope a hundred times as powerful. The discoveries it could make are beyond reckoning.

With the JWST, we will be able not only to find many more extrasolar planets but take spectra of their atmospheres. If we detect free

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