NASA Puts Next-Generation Space Telescope in Spotlight

Amateurs and Professionals Mix at New York Stargazing Event
A full-scale, tennis court-sized model of the James Webb Space Telescope. The replica was on display in Battery Park in New York City as part of the 2010 World Science Festival. (Image credit: Denise Chow)

A senator, a former astronaut and three Nobel prize winners are joining the deputy administrator of NASA in Baltimore today (Oct. 26) to discuss the James Webb Space Telescope project, often called the Hubble telescope's successor.

The speakers will hold a press conference to mark the end of a 13-day display of a full-size model of the James Webb observatory at the Maryland Science Center.

The model was on view as part of the recent Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) annual conference held in Baltimore. ASTC is a nonprofit organization of science centers and museums dedicated to furthering public engagement with science among increasingly diverse audiences.

The Webb telescope will provide images of the first galaxies ever formed and explore planets around distant stars. The ambitious observatory is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

The press conference, which begins at 9:45 a.m. EDT at the Maryland Science Center, won't be televised live, but will be recorded for a later broadcast, NASA officials said. Speakers will include:

  • U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)
  • NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver
  • John Mather, recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics and Webb telescope senior project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
  • Adam Riess, recipient of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, professor of astronomy and physics at the Johns Hopkins University, and a senior member of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore
  • Riccardo Giacconi, recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics and university professor at the Johns Hopkins University
  • John Grunsfeld, deputy director of the Space Telescope Science Institute and a former astronaut who participated in three spaceflights to service the Hubble telescope

If you're in the Baltimore area, you can visit the museum at 601 Light Street in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

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