The United States Postal Service (USPS) is celebrating NASA's revolutionary James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) with a new "Forever" stamp.
The stamp commemorates the start of the telescope's science mission and depicts the James Webb Space Telescope's iconic golden honeycomb mirror and its large sunshields in space as Earth and the moon can be seen in the distance behind it. A deep-field view of space can be seen reflected in the telescope's mirrors. According to a USPS statement announcing the stamp, the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, which operates Webb for NASA, provided an image to the stamp's designer, Derry Noyes.
The new JWST stamps are known as "Forever" stamps because they "can be used to mail a one-ounce letter regardless of when the stamps are purchased or used and no matter how prices may change in the future," according to a USPS fact sheet.
The $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope is the culmination of nearly two decades of research and development. The infrared space observatory launched on Dec. 25, 2021 from Europe's Spaceport at Kourou in French Guiana, aboard an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket. After 30 days, the telescope reached its permanent home at L2, the second sun-Earth Lagrange point, on Jan. 24, 2022.
On July 11, NASA declared that all 17 of the telescope's scientific instruments were operational, ready to begin peering into the most distant reaches of space yet, and the next day released the telescope's stunning first science-quality images. Throughout its projected 10-plus-year lifespan, the telescope will study the earliest known stars and gaze back farther into the universe's past than ever before. Webb will also scour the atmospheres of exoplanets for signs that they might be able to support life.
A free, open-to-the-public event will be held on Sept. 8 at 11:00 a.m. ET at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the launch of the new Webb stamps.