As NASA’s hunt for aliens continues, the US space agency will deploy its James Webb Space Telescope that will hunt for signs of alien life on Earth-sized planets of the TRAPPIST planetary system that was discovered recently. Also, it will search for extraterrestrial life on Jupiter’s moon Europa, NASA said on Friday.
The scientific capabilities of other NASA missions such as the Hubble Space Telescope is complemented and extended by the James Webb Space Telescope, which will be the most powerful space telescope ever built.
“From the very first galaxies after the Big Bang, to searching for chemical fingerprints of life on Enceladus, Europa, and exoplanets like TRAPPIST-1e, Webb will be looking at some incredible things in our universe,” said Eric Smith, James Webb Space Telescope Director at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
“With over 2,100 initial observations planned, there is no limit to what we might discover with this incredible telescope,” said Smith.
All of the science areas the telescope is designed to explore, from first light and the assembly of galaxies to the birth of stars and planets will be addressed by the broad spectrum of initial observations.
Targets will range from the solar system’s outer planets such as Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, and icy Kuiper Belt to exoplanets to distant galaxies in the young universe.
“These observations by the teams of people who designed and built the Webb instruments will yield not only amazing science, but will be crucial in putting the observatory through its paces and understanding its many capabilities,” said Ken Sembach, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in the US.
(With inputs from PTI)