“When you think about it, humanity has never looked this far,” Nelson said.
A marvel of engineering, Webb is able to see farther into space than any telescope before him thanks to his huge primary mirror and infrared-focused instruments, allowing him to penetrate dust and gas.
Webb’s infrared capabilities allow it to see deeper into the past, all the way back to the Big Bang, which happened 13.8 billion years ago.
As the universe expands, light from the very first stars shifts from the ultraviolet and visible wavelengths in which it was emitted to longer infrared wavelengths, which Webb is able to record with unprecedented resolution.
More good news: thanks to Arianespace’s efficient launch, the telescope could last 20 years, double its original lifespan.
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