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Next Space Telescope

November 23, 2006

Hubble’s here for another seven years, but what comes after that?


The next generation space telescope. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

NASA recently announced that it will service the Hubble Space Telescope one more time, meaning we’ll have seven more years of its stunning images. But what comes after that? All eyes are on the James Webb Space Telescope, which will have a mirror seven times larger than Hubble’s. It’s designed to look at the youngest galaxies in the universe and see how planets form. Pam Sullivan, a manager for the telescope, says NASA engineers are already hard at work.

PAM SULLIVAN (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center):
2006 is actually the big year for us in that we’re trying to demonstrate all of our technologies. We’ve got 10 what we call enabling technologies—things that we have to invent, basically, for the James Webb Space Telescope to work, and we’re on track to finish up that this year.

If things go according to plan, the JWST will launch in 2013, just in time to take over from Hubble. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.