“Now the world has gone to bed,
Darkness won’t engulf my head,
I can see by infrared,
How I hate the night.” -Douglas Adams

In 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched and deployed, becoming the first space-based observatory. In the years since, many others have followed, covering the entire electromagnetic spectrum, but with nothing superseding Hubble over the wavelengths it covers. That will all change with the James Webb Space Telescope, currently on schedule and almost ready for its October 2018 launch date.

Image credit: NASA / JWST / HST team.

Image credit: NASA / JWST / HST team.

The science instruments are all complete, the final mirrors are being inserted into the optical assembly, the sunshield (a new, innovative component) is almost complete, and then it just needs assembly and launch. When it’s all said and done, JWST will be orders of magnitude greater than all the other observatories that came before, and will finally allow us to truly see the first stars, galaxies and quasars in the Universe, not limited by the obscuring neutral gas that currently blocks our view with other observatories.

Image credit: NASA / JWST team.

Image credit: NASA / JWST team.

Enjoy the whole longread, complete with component pictures and updates current as of January 2016, here!

Comments

  1. #1 Denier
    United States
    January 28, 2016

    Are you sure about the potential for refueling? I have been unable to get a definitive answer on that. Seemingly every time someone says the potential exists, someone else says the JWST doesn’t have refueling ports and the technology to pull off such a mission would be more expensive than simply putting a new and better telescope out there. Both stories sound plausible. Do you have details on which is the straight scoop?

  2. #2 PJ
    Perth, west Oz
    January 28, 2016

    Now, that IS one beautiful technological beast ! Thanks, Ethan, for the update.
    For Denier, extract from
    http://jwst.nasa.gov/faq_tweetchat1.html
    Q: What about in-space refueling the telescope? Would it be possible to extend the mission lifespan this way? (asked by @hrissan)

    A: In-space refueling of #JWST? Logically possible but difficult. It would require robots!

    🙂

  3. #3 Ragtag Media
    January 28, 2016

    This is only the beginning.
    Society is generating Billionaires daily to the point where technology and finance no longer need nation states to fund them.
    Zuckerberg just picked up a cool 6 BILLION in net after today’s earning report.
    Bezos, Musk, ect.. Billionaires risking capitol on space.
    There are good times ahead in this area of mankind research.
    And some money to be made for those following the trend
    GLTA 🙂

  4. #4 Wow
    January 29, 2016

    Billionaires today aren’t worth what they were 50 years ago.

    We also have more people below the poverty line, and increasing that number faster than at any time before.

    It’s EASY to get a billion if you’re already wealthy. It’s near impossible now to GET a million if your family is middle class or lower. Especially since the increase in the lower class is caused by the pushing of the middle class to the bottom.

  5. #5 Ragtag Media
    January 30, 2016

    “It’s near impossible now to GET a million if your family is middle class or lower.”
    Bullshit. Opportunity is EVERYWHERE. GTFO your pitty pot and go get it.
    Hell, I am not crying about the 10’s of thousands I sank into Iraq (that were at one point valued handsomely) as a war profiteer only to have O’Bozo loose it all. I am now partnered with a former Iraqi Investor.
    Heck We have used Indie programmers, US coders and now Pakistani Coder to build a marketable product that should return our capital well rewarded.

    Your just falling victim to an old complex caste type system over there. Your dad worked at the chicken plucking factory so that is what you do. My Uncle married a Limey chic 20 years his journor

  6. #6 Ragtag Media
    January 30, 2016

    Ooops accidental submit trying to spell check.
    Anyways she had that same peasant class pity me mentality.
    Hell, sell all you have buy a plane ticket and come to America.
    Ditch that shithole socialist system over there.

  7. #7 dean
    January 30, 2016

    “Opportunity is EVERYWHERE.”

    Economic mobility in the United States has been a thing of the past for decades. The notion that everyone has the same opportunity to make money and get rich is now officially a myth. If you had the ability to read and understand social statistics or economics you’d understand. (That assumes, of course, that you’d have the integrity and desire to try to learn something, and you’ve demonstrated you do not.)

  8. #8 Wow
    January 30, 2016

    ““It’s near impossible now to GET a million if your family is middle class or lower.”
    Bullshit. Opportunity is EVERYWHERE.”

    BULLSHIT.

    If you don’t have any fallback wealth, you can’t afford to risk failure. See The Trump: multiple failures and he’d have done better just betting with a tracker investment, but he had so much privilege from his parents that he’s wealthy.

    Schools in poor areas are underfunded BADLY, and early education means you get a bad start on life, whilst premium colleges get you name recognition, even if you’re just an average student.

    The theory is that opportunity is everywhere, but the actuality is that it’s nowhere near.

  9. #9 Ragtag Media
    January 31, 2016

    “The notion that everyone has the same opportunity to make money and get rich is now officially a myth.”

    You do have the same “opportunity”.

    “The theory is that opportunity is everywhere, but the actuality is that it’s nowhere near.”

    No it’s not, it’s right in front of your face. Think of something that really bothers you due to it’s malfunction or waste or cost.
    Fix that annoying thing to your liking and wallah market it. Odds are a Million+ other people are annoyed by the same dang thing. Get them to fork over cost of fix plus a buck and there is a Million.

    “Schools in poor areas are underfunded BADLY,”

    BOLLOCKS!!!!!! The internet in INVALUABLE here. People have access to a BAZILLION articles of information On EVERTHING.
    KAHN Academy… Starts With A Bang.. type blogs and forums where information is exchanged FREELY.

    It takes “desire” and “self motivation” NOT more govt funding.
    The Govt teet is actually a hindrance because human nature tends to look for the easy way out .

    How about simple investing your savings in company like Facebook?
    http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=FB+Interactive#{“range”:”5y”,”allowChartStacking”:true}
    Had you got in 3 years ago at 18 to 22 bucks you would have a 5 fold return.

    ANYONE can open an online trading account.
    I bought Apple@17 Best Buy @7 Google @ 80 ect ect..

    Opportunity IS out there even if your an Astrophysicist who post on a science blog. Who knows, someday your articles may appear on a major publisher like Forbes.

  10. #10 Ragtag Media
    United States
    January 31, 2016

    Wozer, what does it cost to form a corporation in the UK?
    It’s about a buck 20 here in the states give or take.

    You and deano can pool 60 bucks each together, write up your articles of incorporation, form your LLC and market your load of bollocks.
    Who knows, there is probably a shit ton of people out there who love to just adhere to woe is me mentality the victim.

    Create a website. Those can be done for FREE and wallah.
    Make it so your Woe is me site can take EBT payments and your set.

    Tell everyone they are a victim and they can complain on your site for a buck a month via govt sponsored EBT card payments

    You guys could be like magor corporations on the Govt Teet. GE.. GM.. BP…

  11. #11 Julian Frost
    South Africa
    January 31, 2016

    Ragtag Media, I’m going to have to agree with Dean that

    Economic mobility in the United States has been a thing of the past for decades. The notion that everyone has the same opportunity to make money and get rich is now officially a myth. If you had the ability to read and understand social statistics or economics you’d understand.

    I’m not going to even bother with your pig-ignorant responses. You are shockingly unaware of the realities of poverty.
    There is a columnist on Cracked who goes by the pseudonym “John Cheese”. He grew up in abject poverty and has written a number of articles on the realities of growing up poor and how difficult it is to break that cycle. His most recent article is http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-things-only-poor-people-understand-about-poverty/ but he has written a number of others. I would recommend you read them before mouthing off. Poor people do NOT have the same opportunities as the middle class or rich, and you are naive to assume that they do.

  12. #12 Wow
    January 31, 2016

    “You are shockingly unaware of the realities of poverty.”

    Teabaggie here, like all his kind, are temporarily inconvenienced millionaires, it’s only “the leftist commie nazi hppies” whose ill will to the wealthy has ensured that they’re not, as they believe themselves to deservedly be, millionaires at this moment in time.

    After all, it can’t be THEIR problem, can it?

  13. #13 Ragtag Media
    February 1, 2016

    “You are shockingly unaware of the realities of poverty.”
    And You are shockingly ignorant of the difference between abject and relative poverty.
    That ignorant twerp “John Cheese” ( Mack Leighty) did not live in abject poverty, he was just white trash.
    they even had a cat with a litter box. What a joke.
    You’re in South Africa, is the poverty there?
    http://www.poverties.org/poverty-in-south-africa.html#gallery%5BpageGallery%5D/1/

    Are you a guilt ridden white liberal who does not notice the plight in your own backyard that you have to find it in a liberal democrat who lived in Lawrenceville, Illinois?
    “The median income for a household in the city was $24,951, and the median income for a family was $32,042. Males had a median income of $27,128 versus $20,451 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,717. About 13.9% of families and 16.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.7% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.”

    Now go look at some South African Poverty stats and get back to me about what abject poverty is.

  14. #14 Ragtag Media
    United States
    February 1, 2016

    “Teabaggie here, like all his kind, are temporarily inconvenienced millionaires”
    Please educate yourself:
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Millionaire-Next-Door-Surprising/dp/1589795474

    It’s free to check out at the Library

  15. #15 Julian Frost
    South Africa
    February 1, 2016

    Ragtag Media:

    Are you a guilt ridden white liberal who does not notice the plight in your own backyard..?

    I’m not “guilt ridden”. Far from it, in fact. I’m very angry at our incompetent and fiscally incontinent President.

    That ignorant twerp “John Cheese” ( Mack Leighty) did not live in abject poverty

    You didn’t even read his articles, did you? He did, and considers himself lucky to have escaped that background.
    We’re talking about people who have so little money, they’re one mishap (fridge goes on the fritz; car breaks down) from financial ruin. That you think such people have the time or money to incorporate a business, buy materials to make a model and build it, speaks volumes.

  16. #16 Ragtag Media
    United States
    February 1, 2016

    “You didn’t even read his articles, did you? ”
    Yes I did. And he is yanking people chain.
    Pity him if you will, but pity him not for his faux impoverished state but for his families ignorance and misallocation of their resources.
    Do you know where he grew up?
    Lawrenceville, IL. Yep smack dab in the middle of what once was considered the bread basket to the world’
    I have been in close proximity to the town, it’s not unlike many Midwestern towns in America. Farming is HUGE, it’s nicknamed the corn belt or grain belt. You can drive for hundreds of miles in any direction and see corn and soybeans ect growing during season.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breadbasket#/media/File:Corn_belt.svg

    He grew up in the mid 80’s-90’s His middle school and high Schools had showers he could have used. ANY KID IN AMERICA with that low of income qualified for FREE/Reduced price lunches at school.
    Those towns have a food pantry.. I could go on and on.

    I have lived more impoverished than Mr Cheeses Load Of Bollocks if we measure it by his ruler. I spent a year living out of my vehicle, took cold showers at the public showers, even went to the food shelf for the freebies but always gave my food shelf goods to those worse off than me. Those were the mentally ill.
    I would scavenge the landfill for scrap metal. cars would be junked there and the radiators brought a few bucks for a loaf of bread.

    I know what it’s like to eat jam sandwiches, know what that is?
    No you don’t spread sweet jammy on bread and eat it, you simply JAM to pieces of bread together and eat it because that’s all there is.
    I once lived with my Grandparents in rural Texas, at the end of the month things got lean but always managed to scrape up some change from cashing in pop bottles selling aluminum cans.
    (Matter of fact I once had a circuit I dumpster dove for pop cans. I hit the local parks after weekends when people dumped their pick nick)
    We always could buy tater’s and beans and make cornbread for CHEAP.
    I think he is embellishing his impoverished upbringing,

  17. #17 Ragtag Media
    February 1, 2016

    Julian, At least he admits it here in this article:
    “people laying around their house, watching Family Guy and enjoying their “free money.” Yes, those people do exist — I’ve met them in person. I’ve drank their beer and dodged their roaches in their living rooms. At one point, my parents were those people.”

    See that? “At one point, my parents were those people.”.
    Yep, Laying up on their dead dog asses leaching off the system.

    http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-things-politicians-will-never-understand-about-poor-people/

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