James Webb Space Telescope Gets Federal Funding, Hubble’s Successor Set To Gaze Into Space In 2018

By Steve West | 9 years ago

The US government isn’t always about stopping space exploration, as is evidenced by the passing of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies 2012 Appropriations Bill. The big news for science geeks, and the scientists who are actually smart enough to use the funding, is the Hubble successor has received full funding. The James Webb Space Telescope was on the verge of having its budget cut, and now sees a brighter future.

The funding for the Webb Telescope will allow for a 2018 launch to further study the skies. Much of the decision to grant the $530 million to the project may have been the result of the job creation and innovations that will come about. Senator Barbara Mikulski is a science advocate, and has been adamant about the support our country has to show projects like the Webb Telescope.

Mikulski said in a press release:

“Our nation is in an amaz¬ing race—the race for dis¬cov¬ery and new knowl¬edge, the race to remain com¬pet¬i¬tive. This bill includes full fund¬ing of the James Webb Tele¬scope to achieve a 2018 launch. The Webb Tele¬scope sup¬ports 1,200 jobs and will lead to the kind of inno¬va¬tion and dis¬cov¬ery that have made Amer¬ica great. It will inspire America’s next gen¬er¬a¬tion of sci¬en¬tists and inno¬va¬tors that will have the new ideas that lead to new prod¬ucts and new jobs.”

It’s astounding to think that there’s push back on things like this from anyone. Research and study in scientific fields is a major factor in the US being a major power in the world. Do people think that our place on the world stage is bestowed by magic? The study of science is important and vital to our future, but it’s not a special interest and thus doesn’t get the love it deserves from those in power. It’s nice that we can talk briefly about a bill that gives more money to scientific study.

The James Webb Space Telescope will operate mainly in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum, although some visible images will be available. Mainly the telescope will be looking at the earlier galaxies that formed in the universe, hopefully giving a clearer idea of how our Milky Way came about from the Big Bang that started it all.

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