(NewsNation Now) — NASA’s latest — and the world’s largest and most powerful — telescope has made its way to its new home.
The James Webb Space Telescope fired its rocket thrusters for nearly five minutes on Monday, letting it go into orbit around the sun at its designated location. NASA had teamed up with the European and Canadian space agencies to get Webb and its mirrors into the cosmos.
This all happened 1 million miles away from Earth, a month after the telescope first lifted off from French Guiana. In comparison, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990, was only 340 miles away from Earth.
Webb’s thruster firing on Monday put it in orbit around the sun in alignment with the Earth.
The 7-ton telescope is floating in space right now. It will be used to peer through clouds of gas and dust to see things at a much greater distance — all the way back to when the first stars and galaxies were forming 13.7 billion years ago — and also scan the atmospheres of distant worlds for possible signs of life.
To work, the telescope’s mirrors have to be perfectly aligned, to within 10,000ths of the width of a human hair.
“We’re one step closer to uncovering the mysteries of the universe,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement. “And I can’t wait to see Webb’s first new views of the universe this summer!”