Life and death on alien worlds

Alien, life, death

Observatory of superlatives: The approximately 20 meter long James Webb Space Telescope with its 6.5 meter main mirror made of 18 hexagonal gold-plated beryllium segments is the most powerful telescope of all time. It can collect 6.25 times as much light as the Hubble telescope, but at longer wavelengths (0.6 to 28.3 microns).
© Illustration: NASA GSFC, CIL, Adriana Manrique Gutierrez

Astronomers are searching for bio- and techno-signatures in the atmospheres of exoplanets.


Now, 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, a telescope is starting to work that can see further into space than any observatory in human history: the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), named after a former NASA administrator. This high-performance instrument from the American and European space agencies NASA and ESA will discover and research objects that are even fainter than was previously possible. It was launched on December 25, 2021 from the Kourou Cosmodrome in French Guiana on a European Ariane 5 rocket. At the…

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