These six glimmering hexagons are part of the James Webb Space Telescope’s primary mirror. There are 18 segments in total, made from beryllium and coated in a golf ball’s worth of 24-karat gold, which helps reflect infrared light.
Hubble Still Wows At 25, But Wait Till You See What's Next
The James Webb Space Telescope promises to see in new ways, and even further back in time.
On this day 25 years ago, the Hubble Space Telescope hitched a ride to low-Earth orbit aboard space shuttle Discovery. It was the biggest, baddest space telescope ever launched, designed to stare back in time and tease cosmic secrets from the stars.
But, as in all good fairy tales, trouble soon followed. When Hubble’s first images came back to Earth, it was clear the 1.5-billion-dollar instrument—more than two decades in the planning—couldn’t see straight. The images were terrible. Hubble’s primary light-gathering mirror had been made perfectly, precisely wrong, the defect undiscovered until those first blurry stars appeared.
It would take three years and another shuttle visit to make the first fix of Hubble’s vision. And we all know what happened