APR 17, 2019 9:40 AM PDT

What's Taking the James Webb Space Telescope So Long?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

The upcoming infrared-based James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is poised to become the Hubble Space Telescope’s successor as NASA’s premier in-space observatory. Unfortunately, the JWST has experienced more delays than initially anticipated. The original 2007 launch date has come and gone, and the latest launch date estimate is now projected for March 30, 2021; but can NASA meet this new deadline?

NASA has a consistent track record of disregarding deadlines because aerospace and space exploration is hard. Given the high costs associated with doing such demanding tasks, NASA wants to cross every ‘T’ and dot every ‘I’ before giving the green light to move forward with something. The JWST, which is a multi-billion-dollar project, is no exception to this rule of thumb. But even so, why is developing the JWST taking so long?

Perhaps the easiest way to answer that question is to cite the JWST’s complexity, which precision at the nanometer-level. NASA needs to ensure that every component of the JWST works correctly before it’s launched because there will be no way to repair the JWST if something doesn’t deploy successfully in space. This is especially concerning given just how many moving parts the JWST has onboard.

Developing complex new technologies is at the forefront of the JWST project, and much of the technology onboard is unlike anything any space telescope has ever used before. It’s not only incredibly sensitive, but it’s incredibly powerful. With that in mind, the wait will be worth it after the JWST gets placed in space to begin scientific operations.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JAN 23, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Icelandic sediment holds clues for early Martian climate
JAN 23, 2021
Icelandic sediment holds clues for early Martian climate
New research conducted by scientists from Rice University aims to investigate places on Mars that harbor similar geologi ...
MAR 24, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Molecules Containing Carbon Found in Space
MAR 24, 2021
Molecules Containing Carbon Found in Space
It's thought that most carbon found in space is contained in big molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons ( ...
MAY 29, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Climate Models Overestimate Role of Greenhouse Gases in Global Warming, Says New Study
MAY 29, 2021
Climate Models Overestimate Role of Greenhouse Gases in Global Warming, Says New Study
Researchers have that there was four times more soot in the pre-industrial Southern Hemisphere's atmosphere than pre ...
JUL 03, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Size of Planet Iron Core Depends on Star Magnetism
JUL 03, 2021
Size of Planet Iron Core Depends on Star Magnetism
Researchers led by the University of Maryland have found that the sun's magnetic field is the reason behind the larg ...
JUL 03, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Astronauts Perform CRISPR Gene Editing in Space
JUL 03, 2021
Astronauts Perform CRISPR Gene Editing in Space
NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have developed and successfully carried out a CRISPR-Cas9 p ...
JUL 18, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Climate Change has Tilted the Axis of the Earth
JUL 18, 2021
Climate Change has Tilted the Axis of the Earth
The axis of the Earth intersects the planet at the magnetic pole, and Earth's poles are known to wander. They can even f ...
Loading Comments...