#### Scav

##### Mostly Harmless
The desire for the furtherance of science, knowledge, and culture often takes a back burner to the imperative to blow up.

#### fireballs619

##### Occam's Taser
Donator

EDIT: Also, if you are in the US, send a letter to your Representative with your opinion.

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#### orb

News Reporter
Spaceflight Now: NASA: Extra money needed to launch JWST this decade:
One week after a House subcommittee proposed terminating NASA's costly successor to the orbiting Hubble observatory, agency officials told an advisory panel Thursday that the James Webb Space Telescope can be launched as soon as 2018, but political realities could delay the mission's start well into the 2020s.

Following an independent assessment condemning JWST's management practices, NASA kicked off its own review to come up with a realistic projection of the flagship space telescope's projected launch date and total cost.

Rick Howard, NASA's JWST program director, said the agency determined the observatory could launch on a European Ariane 5 rocket as soon as October 2018, but it would require fresh funding.

And with the federal government focused on wrangling in debt, a budget increase for the troubled JWST project is unlikely. NASA officials were speaking to the agency's astrophysics advisory council, a board of senior researchers chartered to provide advice and input in major scientific and programmatic decisions.

"To get to [launch] in 2018, it's going to take a significant amount of new funds," Howard said.

But no one would say how much it will cost to launch the telescope in 2018. The White House has embargoed those figures until the Obama administration rolls out its fiscal year 2013 budget request next February.

Until then, scientists said, it will be difficult to persuade the astronomy and astrophysics communities JWST is still worth continued NASA investment, which is gobbling up the agency's dwindling space science budget and holding back the start of other missions.

{...}

#### orb

News Reporter
NASA:
07.28.11​
New Webb Telescope Technologies Already Helping Human Eyes

Even while construction of the James Webb Space Telescope is underway on the most advanced infrared vision of any space observatory, its technologies are already proving useful to human eye health here on Earth.

"The Webb telescope program has enabled a number of improvements in measurement technology for astronomy, mirror fabrication, and measurement of human eyes, diagnosis of ocular diseases and potentially improved surgery," said Dr. Dan Neal, Research Fellow at Abbott Medical Optics Inc. in Albuquerque, N.M.

Click on image to enlarge​
Image of the Scanning Shack Hartmann System (SSHS), a pair of large mirror test stations used to measure the mirror segments of the Webb telescope. As part of that SSHS program, several improvements were made to the wavefront sensor technology that now allow eye health instruments to be aligned more precisely.​
Credit: Abbott Medical Optics Inc.​

The Webb telescope will be the most scientifically powerful telescope NASA has ever built -- 100 times more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope. The Webb telescope will find the first galaxies that formed in the early universe, connecting the Big Bang to our own Milky Way Galaxy. It will also peer through dusty clouds to see stars and planets being born, connecting star formation in our own galaxy with the solar system.

"The advanced wavefront sensing technology developed for testing the Webb telescope's 18 primary mirrors led to the new applications in other areas," said Tony Hull of L3 Integrated Optical Systems Division-Tinsley Facility in Richmond, Calif., where the Webb's mirrors were recently polished to accuracies of less than one millionth of an inch.

"Wavefront sensing” is used to measure shape of the mirrors during fabrication and control the optics once the telescope is in orbit.

Ophthalmologists routinely use wavefront technology to measure aberrations of the eye. Those measurements help with diagnosis, research, characterization and planning treatment of eye health issues.

"The technology also provides more accurate eye measurements for people about to undergo Laser Refractive Surgery," Neal said. "To date 10-12 million eyes have been treated with Lasik procedures in the U.S. alone. As technology improves, so does the quality of these procedures."

A new "scanning and stitching" technology developed for the Webb telescope led to a number of innovative instrument concepts for more accurate measurement for contact lenses and intra-ocular lenses. Another benefit to eye health is that this technique can help "map" the topography of the eye more accurately.

Think of the surface of your eye as being as dented as the surface of the moon. Precise measurements of your eye's surface are helpful when assessing eyes for contact lenses. The scanning and stitching technology improvements have enabled eye doctors to get much more detailed information about the shape and "topography" of your eye, and do it in seconds rather than hours. Four patents have been issued as result of innovations driven by the Webb telescope program. "These tools are now used to align and build the next generation of measuring devices for human eyes," Neal said.

"The lasting impact of the Webb telescope may go beyond the vision of astronomers seeking to see the distant universe; the impact may be a better national technology base and better vision for people everywhere," Hull said.

NASA's Innovative Partnerships Program Office (IPPO) is making available wavefront sensing and adaptive optics technologies, procedures and lab equipment to private industry through its "Can you See it Now?" campaign. All of the technologies associated with the campaign are available for licensing and can be found at http://ipp.gsfc.nasa.gov/wavefront.

This 90 second video Movie Trailer for the James Webb Space Telescope, produced at NASA hurls the viewer through space and asks if you can imagine seeing 13 billion years back in time, see the first stars, galaxies evolve and solar systems form.
Credit: NASA, Mike McClare​

#### Turbinator

##### New member
Why doesn't NASA completely forget about expensive manned spaceflight, and completely concentrate on robot exploration?
Stop butchering insurmountably valuable scientific missions; just completely erase the word "manned" from the NASA vocabulary.

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News Reporter

Donator

#### SandroSalgueiro

##### New member
My Utopian side gets mad when I see economy restricting science. Seriously, it's ironic. How can we restrict our own enlightenment?

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#### orb

News Reporter
ESA: First JWST instrument finishes testing:
18 August 2011​

A pioneering instrument for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has completed testing in the UK. MIRI is a key European contribution to the mission, which will be a space telescope with a mirror seven times bigger in area than that of the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI) will be used by astronomers to study faint comets circling the Sun, newly born faraway planets, regions of obscured star formation, and galaxies near the edge of the Universe. It must work at extremely low temperatures, of just 7 K above absolute zero or -266° C.

{...}

Click on images to enlarge:

MIRI in the thermal test chamber

MIRI's alignment testing

MIRI in the thermal test chamber​

NASA: Webb Telescope's MIRI Flight Instrument Completes Cryogenic Testing in the U.K.

NASA JPL: Webb Telescope Instrument Completes Cryogenic Testing

#### orb

News Reporter
Aviation Week: NASA Estimates $8.7 Billion To Fly Webb: Managers at NASA replanning the James Webb Space Telescope program after an independent cost analysis found it over budget and behind schedule have concluded it will cost about$8.7 billion to finish the telescope in time for a launch in 2018 and operate it at the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point for five years.

Yes!