The James Webb Space Telescope is one of the greatest scientific endeavours of the 21st century that almost didn't happen, burdened as it was by years of delays and billions of dollars in overspending.
But the mission, which blasted into space on 25 December has, thus far, been successful. The telescope has now completed the process of aligning three out of its four instruments. This step is the sixth in the process of aligning the tool's mirrors with its scientific instruments so that they can create the most accurate and focused images ever captured of the cosmos.
That’ll happen once the Mid-Infrared Instrument fully cools to its cryogenic operating temperature. That step is set to take place in the weeks ahead and then the final adjustments can be made.
Once it’s ready to deliver focused light to each of its instruments, a key decision meeting will occur to confirm the end of aligning the telescope. And then the real fun begins. The telescope will be able to peer back in time to almost the origins of the universe...