The James Webb Space Telescope will be the next great space science observatory, designed to answer outstanding questions about the Universe and to make breakthrough discoveries in all fields of astronomy. It is a once-in-a-generation mission.
Webb is designed and built to offer scientists the capabilities needed to push the frontiers of knowledge of our own Solar System, of the formation of stars and planets including planets outside our Solar System (exoplanets), and of how galaxies are created and evolve, in ways never before possible. Webb will observe the Universe at wavelengths longer than visible light, namely in the near-infrared and mid-infrared. Its data will be made available to the scientific community worldwide.
Webb will observe the Universe in the near-infrared and mid infrared – that is, at wavelengths longer than visible light. It carries a suite of state-of-the-art astronomical instruments capable of addressing a very broad range of outstanding questions in astrophysics. The instrument complement includes powerful cameras, coronagraphs, and spectrographs that will provide scientists with the data they need to analyse the materials that make up stars, nebulae, galaxies and the atmospheres of planets.
The James Webb Space Telescope is named after NASA’s second administrator, James E. Webb, who headed the agency from February 1961 to October 1968 and directed the Apollo programme.