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James Webb Space Telescope

  1. The James Webb Space Telescope Sun Shield Will Help Us Search for Aliens, Looks Like a Star Destroyer

    I find your lack of intelligent life disturbing.

    Were you confused over the weekend as to why every NASA Twitter account and any account even closely related or interested was tweeting a picture of a really shiny, upside down Star Destroyer? (You follow everyone involved in the space program on Twitter too, right?) Wonder no more! It's the solar shield for Hubble's successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, and it'll help us find alien life on planets far, far away.

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  2. New Technique Will Use Hubble’s Successor to Find Alien Life

    Unless there isn't any, which would be incredibly disappointing.

    The search for life on other planets is tough, because no matter how many alien worlds we discover, it's hard to know just which ones might have little facehuggers extraterrestrial organisms skittering around. Scientists have come up with a new method for spotting life-supporting planets, and all they need is Hubble's successor.

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  3. NASA’s Budget For 2014 Is Better Than We Ever Hoped, Bill Nye Has An Open Letter To Obama

    Shoot for the moon, NASA, and even if you miss, you'll land among the stars. J/K That's not how space works.

    Despite fears of cuts, NASA's budget for 2014 was revealed on Monday and is good news for the continuation of current expeditions, future projects, and our friend Bill Nye.

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  4. Hubble Finds New Most Distant Object, Reminds Us the Universe is Still Enormous

    The Universe is crazy big, everybody. How big? So big that the Hubble Telescope just found a new candidate for the title of Most Distant Object in the Universe. That object is MACS0647-JD, a galaxy far, far away. It's so far away from us, in fact,  that we can't even measure the distance in lightyears. Instead, we have to measure it in redshift, and this galaxy's redshift goes all the way up to 11.

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  5. NASA Takes Huge Hit In Proposed Congressional Budget

    In what feels like a completely endless debate about how the government should support its science agencies during economic hardship, it seems as though NASA is set to be the sacrificial lamb of budget balancing with almost $2 billion in cuts. Congress has just released its Appropriations bill that gives their views on how much federal money NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) should be given. Massive cuts are called for across the board, but no agency is set to lose as much as NASA.

    To determine the federal budget, the President comes up with a budget request that the House of Representatives and the Senate then consider and come up with their own independent counter offers. The House and Senate must agree on budget appropriations before the budget becomes final. In his request, President Obama was relatively kind to NASA but the House apparently doesn't see the same value in the agency. The House's budget includes a total cut of $1.64 billion from last year which is almost $2 billion short of the President's request.

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  6. Space Telescope Protectected by SPF 1,000,000 Shield

    Though it is still two to three years away from launch, the James Webb Space Telescope is shaping up to be a technological wonder. Once in place, it will be the first optical telescope in orbit and will sport a primary mirror six times larger than that of the Hubble, seeing further and clearer using infrared optics. But to do all that, the Webb telescope will use a massive sunshield the size of a tennis court. The Webb sunshield will consist of five separate layers of Kapton, folded at launch and then stretched over 20 x 12 meters. The mutliple layers of this strong, durable film are what give the sunshield its amazing properties:
    Once on orbit, the sunshield creates a 330 K (243°F to -351°F) temperature differential between the hottest and coldest layers. Using multiple separated layers allows most of a layer’s heat to radiate to space before it reaches the next one creating a substantial temperature drop from one layer to the next.
    All together, these layers give the sunshield an effective Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 1,000,000, according to the Deputy Project Manager for the telescope, John Durning. Such protection is necessary as the onboard infrared systems are sensitive to heat, and must be kept at very low temperatures -- under -370 F, or 50 K. Though the pictures from visible light telescopes are beautiful, many are limited because the visible spectrum of light cannot penetrate the dust and gas that floats around the galaxy. With the Webb telescope, scientist will see some of the oldest, most distant stars thanks to infrared imaging, giving them a better understanding of the Universe's origins. (NASA, Webb Telescope via The Universe Today)

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  7. NASA Discovers Most Distant Galaxy

    13.2 billion light-years away resides what could very well be the most distant object ever seen in the universe. Caught in Hubble's 2009 Ultra Deep Field snapshot, the infant galaxy appears red due to the stretching of photons caused by the universe's continuing expansion. The galaxy pictured was formed just 480 million years after the Big Bang, and is 100 times smaller than our own Milky Way.

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