According to Mike Menzel, lead NASA mission systems engineer for the telescope, “Webb is a first-and one-of-its-kind space telescope designed to detect the first galaxies that formed in our universe, observe how galaxies evolve over cosmic time, study the formation of stars and solar systems, and perform detailed observations of planets around other stars. It has been my privilege to be part of this team for the last 24 years. It is my sincere hope that I can someday say that I worked on the space telescope that detected the first-light galaxies, or detected the building blocks of life on a planet around another star. It is also my hope and expectation that this world-class facility will detect some cosmic phenomenon that is totally new and unexpected, which opens up a whole new field of astronomical research. If past history of space observatories, such as Hubble, are anything to go by, there is a very, very good chance of this.”
We hope you follow along on NASA’s Google Arts & Culture page, where we’ll be periodically sharing new stories and images from the telescope’s discoveries. And until then… check out 10 things to know about the James Webb Space Telescope and enjoy the 3D model!