James Webb Space Telescope Mirror is Halfway Complete with Robotic Help

First Posted: Dec 28, 2015 01:55 PM EST

The James Webb Space Telescope mirror is halfway complete, which means that researchers are looking forward to learning a bit more about our universe. The mirror represents just part of a project to create a telescope to peer further than ever before into the distant universe.

"The years of planning and practicing is really paying dividends and the progress is really rewarding for everyone to see," said Lee Feinberg, NASA's Optical Telescope Element Manager, in a news release.

The latest mirror is just over 4.2 feet across and weighs about 88 pounds. After being pieced together, the 18 primary mirror segments in the James Webb Space Telescope will work together as one large 21.3-foot mirror. The full installation of this mirror is expected to be complete in early 2016.

The installation of the mirror was actually performed by a large, robotic arm, which is used to lift and lower the hexagonal-shaped segment.

The new telescope will be huge for the future of space exploration. It's actually the scientific successor to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, and will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. This may help researchers find new exoplanets and better understand the types of conditions that exist on those planets. This, in turn, may help with the hunt for life on other planets.

Want to learn more about the new James Webb Space Telescope? Visit NASA's website.

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