The Next Big Space Telescope

Attention astronomy enthusiasts! Remember learning about the seemingly insurmountable odds astronauts faced when upgrading the Hubble Space Telescope? (If not, check out these programs from NOVA scienceNOW and NOVA.) Thankfully, after a successful mission, the world's most powerful space telescope can now see the universe as it was a billion years after the Big Bang. But are you a little anxious (like we are) to know more about the even earlier universe?  Well, if you can wait until 2014, scientists might be able to peer into this past-- only 300 million years after the dawn of the cosmos.

Meet the James Webb Space Telescope. Engineers have started constructing this new space telescope, and astrophysicists hope that it will change the way we understand the universe. NASA showcased a full sized model of the telescope at the World Science Festival in Manhattan in June, so the team at NOVA scienceNOW went to see what it could do. Take a look.

Alex Liu, an intern at NOVA scienceNOW, is currently a master's candidate at New York University's Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program.
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