World’s most powerful telescope set to launch in 2018.

This is, well, HUGE.

NASA is building the biggest telescope the world has ever 

seen, and it will give scientists the opportunity to 'see' 

cosmic events that occurred 13.5 billion years ago - just 220 

million years following the Big Bang. Named the James 


Space Telescope (JWST), it will be 100 times more powerful 

than the Hubble Space Telescope, and is tipped to be fully 

operational within the next three years.

"What the Webb will really be doing is looking at the first 

galaxies of the Universe," project scientist Mark Clampin told 

the press at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in the US 

this week. "We will also be able, with these capabilities, to 

look in very dark parts of the universe where stars are being 


The JWST includes a mirror 6.5 metres in diameter, which is 
three times the size of Hubble’s mirror, and it will have 70 
times its light-gathering capacity. It will include four cameras 
and spectrometers, the latter of which is designed to take in 
light, break it down into its spectral components, and digitise 
the signal as a function of a wavelength for scientists to 

"We have sensors on board, equipment on board that will 
enable us to study the atmosphere of exoplanets 
spectroscopically, so we will be able to understand the 
composition of those atmospheres,” Matt Greenhouse, a 
JWST project scientist, told the press. "We can make big 
progress in the search for life."

Unlike Hubble, which has spent the last 25 years orbiting 
Earth, the James Webb Space Telescope will go all the way 
out to one of the Lagrangian points - a set of five equilibrium 
points in every Earth-Moon System - 1.5 million kilometres 
(930,000 miles) away. This will keep it far enough away from 
the Sun so it’s not too hot, and will shelter it from radiation 
and "prevent it from being blinded by its own infra-red 

"It will follow Earth around the Sun over the course of the 
year. So it's in a Sun centre orbit instead of an Earth centre 
orbit," said Greenhouse. "Just as Hubble rewrote all the 
textbooks, Webb will rewrite [them] again."

The telescope is expected to launch in October 2018.