Astrophysics seminar: The James Webb Space Telescope: A New Era for Space Exploration

Mike McElwain (NASA)
- | David Rittenhouse Laboratory, 4E19
An image of Mike McElwain

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a large, infrared
space telescope designed to transform space science by observing targets
from within our own Solar System to the first light in the Universe (and
basically everything in between). The scientific goals required the
world’s most powerful telescope, which was enabled by many first-of-its
kind innovations for space, including a segmented primary mirror that is
6.6 m in diameter and a 5-layer sunshield used to passively cool the
telescope and its four science instruments. This presentation will
provide the historical context and motivation for the mission, describe
the development and commissioning periods, illustrate the scientific
potential, and highlight early science results and trends. It will also
include some lessons learned and how they can be applied to NASA’s
newest flagship telescope concept, the Habitable Worlds Observatory.