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Wednesday, April 28, 2010
The Hubble telescope changed the way we look at our universe. So what's next?
NASA is working on an even more powerful telescope. The James Webb telescope will launch in 2014. The Webb will be able to see the fartherest and earliest galaxies in our universe.
The new telescope weighs six tons. It is the size of a tennis court. Scientists from 18 countries are working together to build the Webb. After years of design, they began building parts for the telescope in 2002.
NASA will launch the Webb telescope on an Ariane 5 rocket. The Ariane 5 rocket is about the size of the space shuttle. The Webb will fold up inside the rocket's cargo area.
Once the Webb reaches into space, it will separate from the rocket. The telescope will travel a month before it reaches its new home. As it travels, it will open up like a butterfly when it nears its orbit.
For more information about the Webb telescope, visit http://webbtelescope.org/webb_telescope/
To build a model of the James Webb Telescope, go to http://www.jwst.nasa.gov/model/assembly_parts_pages_final.pdf
Model instructions can be found at http://www.jwst.nasa.gov/model/jwst_model_instructions_final.pdf
Photo of Webb telescope model courtesy NASA.