01 November 2011

JWST Passes Senate

Title: JWST Bill
Authors CJS Subcommittee Chairwoman Mikulski

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the purported successor to Hubble, has been in the news a lot over the past year. As the budget for the project increased once again, the will of the US Government to actually finish the project was called into question. Well, after a long battle, a bill which explicitly outlines supporting and funding a 2018 launch of JWST was passed by the Senate. If you are interested in reading the Appropriations Committee's press release, see the title link above. It must still be approved by the House of Representatives, which might prove to be the more difficult task.

An artists conception of JWST. Credit: NASA/ESA

However, it is very interesting to note that not everyone is in favor of JWST (politicians, astronomers, scientists, the public, etc). There seems to be a divide since the money to fund JWST must come from somewhere - possibly other NASA projects (e.g., smaller satellites, research grants). Other are adamantly in favor of it because the scientific questions which will be answered (or plausibly answered) are important.

This topic came up at astro lunch this afternoon, before we knew about the bill passing. Now, I propose the question to the readers. Is JWST a worthwhile investment? I hope to hear all of your comments and opinions.

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