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NASA Names Next-Generation Space Telescope

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the orbiting-observatory-by-any-other-name dept.

Space 24

Betelgeuse writes: "The Trek-obsessed people over at NASA have let go of the somewhat unwieldy name for the next major space-based optical observatory (formerly the 'Next Generation Space Telescope'). The space-based observatory will be known as the James Webb Space Telescope, named after James E. Webb, NASA's second administrator. While Webb is best known for leading Apollo and a series of lunar exploration programs that landed the first humans on the Moon, he also initiated a vigorous space science program, responsible for more than 75 launches during his tenure, including America's first interplanetary explorers. In addition, they've also announced the builder: TRW, Redondo Beach, CA. The press release is here."

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Prepare for War! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4229311)

Are you prepared to die for your rights and freedom?

Are you prepared to kill?

September 11th marks a turning point in history. The day the islamic world showed its true face. The terror of that fateful day need not be recalled here, for there are far worthier media outlets that can stage a fitting tribute to the fallen. But the repercussions of this event have been felt for the past 365 days.

Notice how you don't feel as secure as you did in employment. Notice how suddenly your salary doesn't stretch as far as it used to? Notice the lump tightening in your gut every time you see an islamic walking freely.

Now ask yourself? Have you let the terrorists win?

They are laughing at us. The whole islamic world is laughing at us. They will be in our streets tomorrow, cheering and celebrating the act of mass murder. Why are they permitted to support acts of barbarism?

Why? Because we live in a Free Country. Yet, paradoxically, it is our freedom which offends the islamic the most. They know fine well that in their barbaric despotisms they would not be permitted ANY means of protest against the goverment. Yet, not only are they free to protest, to burn our flag, but they are nigh on ENCOURAGED to do so by the liberal media.

Switch on your television set tomorrow. You'll see them. The liberals. Plump and fat with the rich pickings of their well-fed middle class white heritage, they shall be bleating that somehow, it's all America's fault. That America is a nation forged from genocide, that the numbers of children killed in Iraq and Afghanistan far outweigh the tiny little statistic of the World Trade Centre murders. Making us feel guilty for the privledge of being noble-hearted Americans. Denying our nation the opportunity to mourn.

We face a twin pronged attack. The liberal media, forever assaulting the values we hold dear, and the islamic menace. A permanent threat that has been allowed to continue far too long.

Understand that for an islamic, the idea that a non-islamic should be permitted to live in peace is HERESY. Like any good brain-washing cult, islamics are indoctrinated from birth and are forced to remember every verse in their "Terrorist's Handbook", the Koran. Without recourse to other treatises on morality, is it any wonder that islamics have degenerated to the point of raw animal savagery?

As long as islamics are tolerated in decent society, there will always be terrorism. They want to see this 'decent society' destroyed from within. Notice how, although islamic culture is supposed to be a 'paradise', these animals cannot WAIT to get out of their own countries and into Western civilization.

Why is this? Surely, it is a core belief of islam that a muslim should offer shelter to their fellow muslim. So, why is Europe infested with the black cancer of 'asylum seekers'? The answer is simple. Asylum seekers are an invasion force. Entering decent countries and tearing them apart from within. Demanding to be treated with more privledge than the native population. Clogging up government services and squandering taxpayers money without offering anything back to the society they force to become their home. Other than an increase in crime rates, of course.

Surely a western government is in place "For the people"? Ask ANY European Citizen whether they want asylum resettlement centres in their towns, and you'll recieve a unanimous "Non". So why is THIS invasion tolerated?

Socialism! Successive socialist goverments in Europe have allowed the islamic cancer to spread unchecked. This is why, even though islam is a religion, and not a skin colour, every muslim knows how to cry "racist" whenever they are asked to behave like a human being.

For a 'just' and 'tolerant' religion, it is shocking to see how quickly islamic settlement areas degenerate into high crime zones, where the rest of society; be they white, chinese, hindu, sikh, whatever; fears to walk. There are areas of all our inner cities which operate under strict Sharia law in all but name. Gangs of muslim youths roam freely, each one of them a mini Bin Laden.

This is the army which we must face. Together, not as whites, or purebreed aryans, or any of that bullshit, but as AMERICANS, we must stand together. For even the most liberal of human beings knows, in their heart, that islam poses a threat to the very foundation of our existance.

We have guns. We need to use them before further liberalism pries them from our grasps. Because we know that THEY have guns as well. And they are just waiting for the call from their Terrorist Training Camps (mosques) to begin the holy jihad. And it will be the blood of our families, our beloved ones, that will be spilled if we don't act. We must act soon and decisively. Entering the muslim-held areas en masse and eliminating their foul subhuman breed for good. For once our country is purged, and no more islamics are permitted entry, we know we shall be steadfast on the road to security.

The muslim's heart craves war, and on September 11th 2001 they chose to bring the battle onto the streets of America.

September 11th 2002 shall be the day we fight back. Our new Independance Day.

I ask you now, if any word of this diatribe strikes a chord in your heart, PLEASE post it on. Usenet. Online forums. Wherever. Because, despite decades of liberal propaganda, you know that every word said is forged from the cold, harsh flame of truth.

Too Bad (4, Insightful)

pease1 (134187) | more than 12 years ago | (#4229543)

Not that Webb wasn't a great man and great leader, but it would have been better to name this telescope after an astronomer - like Hubble - and not an adminstrator. The great orbiting observatories of the 80's and 90's were named after astronomers.

This is a sad case of NASA tooting their own horn and trying to relive a happier past.

Bureaucracy more important than the science? (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 12 years ago | (#4230597)

Not that he didn't do a good job, and administrators fill a real need, but science is what drives NASA. The adminstrators' job is to get the science done. If Webb wasn't there, somebody else would have done it. The same can't be said for, say, Einstein, Hawking, or Sagan.

If there was anybody who deserves a nod for spurring NASA along, it's John Kennedy, and that's from someone who's not a big fan of his presidency. But to give credit where credit is due, NASA's greatest period would not have been if he hadn't been impetuous enough to promise a man on the moon by the end of the decade. And yes, I realize everythin else is already named for him, but that's just because he was killed.

Re:Bureaucracy more important than the science? (2, Insightful)

mike3411 (558976) | more than 12 years ago | (#4232602)

I think your comment is pretty contradictory. In the first part, you argue that administrators merely perform their duties as specified in the job description, independent of their individual personality/skills/whatever. Yet, in the second part, you argue that JFK, the administrator-in-chief, should be the one to get things named after him. First of all, what's the difference between the two, except degree of power? I'll agree that, clearly, JFK substantially advanced NASA and our space efforts, but how do you know that Webb did not, in his somewhat-less-powerful capacity, move the space program along?

I think the administrators are absolutely crucial in the success of any endeavor, and to be good they must do much more than simply fill a role that anyone else could have easily and homogenously filled. They must decide between vying projects, decide which research to follow; their guidance is absolutely critical and those that do their job well are invaluable. Just because they don't personally discover that E=MC^2 or somesuch, does not make their position any less important, or individually brilliant. It takes intelligence, foresight, and a great deal of skill to lead science forward.

Re:Bureaucracy more important than the science? (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 12 years ago | (#4236556)

Yet, in the second part, you argue that JFK, the administrator-in-chief, should be the one to get things named after him. First of all, what's the difference between the two, except degree of power? I'll agree that, clearly, JFK substantially advanced NASA and our space efforts, but how do you know that Webb did not, in his somewhat-less-powerful capacity, move the space program along?

Your counter-argument is predicated on the fallicy that JFK was administrator-in-chief. He wasn't an administrator at all, with regard to NASA, he was only a leader. Leaders do the vision thing, administrators have to execute them, worrying about things like personnel issues, ordering widgets from factories, etc. Clearly the administrator's job is far more difficult - the leader is more of an 'idea rat', to borrow a phrase from Adams. If anybody fits the adminstrator-in-chief moniker, it's the congress-critters who fund and oversee NASA.

My thesis is that we wouldn't have put a man on the moon without JFK, but we would have still gotten there if there was a different adminstrator at NASA. Please, prove me wrong by showing that Webb had this planned anyhow and that NASA would have failed to make it to the moon by Dec. 31 if Webb hadn't been at the helm.

Re:Bureaucracy more important than the science? (1)

mike3411 (558976) | more than 12 years ago | (#4259052)

I'm not sure why you try to tie everything to landing on the moon, as if the one person whose actions can be directly tied to this even should have everything named after them, while everyone else shoud just do their uncreative and uninspired administrative duties.

Anyway, my original point didn't have anything to do with the moon, but rather that administrators are important, and while I certainly don't know the history and exploits of any of these individuals, I'd generally trust NASA's judgment and if they say this guy was a signficant positive factor in the space program, then I see no reason to argue with their choice.

Planet Finding in Infrared (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4231543)

The ability of the Webb to show infrared [] makes this a whole new view, including a direct image of extrasolar planets. Each wavelength is a universe unto itself--small objects become very prominent in the right band.

Re:Too Bad (1)

Boronx (228853) | more than 12 years ago | (#4232301)

Part of the reason they must have picked him is that "Webb" is kindof a cool name.

Re:Too Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4244670)

You don't get it. James Webb was not just a administrator at NASA; he was a visionary who had
a strong desire to explore the unknown and excel in doing it. Every NASA administrator after him was just doing whatever needed to be done. Or worse (e.g., Daniel Goldin).

Today NASA is considered to be one of the carriers
of the advanced space technology (also I consider
that place as a half-way house for those old civil
servants who come in to drink coffee, do nothing
but chat with other old folks in the lab, and we can do nothing to let them retire...when I worked
there about 50% of the GS people were like that)..
oops sidetrack. Anyway, it is not exaggerating when I say that James Webb had built NASA the way
it is today.

So he deserves the recognition.

So the Webb replaces the Hubble... (1)

DLWormwood (154934) | more than 12 years ago | (#4229751)

...will the 3rd space satelite be named Babbage, Chubb, or Tibbs? What's with the double-b anyway?

WTF (2, Insightful)

masterkool (550633) | more than 12 years ago | (#4229835)

IN the article, they say
Unlike Hubble, space shuttle astronauts will not service the James Webb Space Telescope because it will be too far away.

My question is, what happens when things go awry? Frankly, the idea of an unservicable telescope doesn't suit me well. I can only hope that Hubble's mishaps will improve the Webb telescope, but accidents and miscalculations are possible and probabe.

remote repair options (4, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 12 years ago | (#4230290)

(* ...My question is, what happens when things go awry? Frankly, the idea of an unservicable telescope doesn't suit me well. *)

It seems space-telescope design is in a sticky delemma. If you put them in low earth orbit, they are shuttle-servicable. However, interference and changing shadows from Earth and Sun limit your observations. Thus, to get beyond what hubble-like scopes can do, they have to put them out far enough to be constantly in Earth's shadow at a distance.

At that point servicing them via a manned mission gets really expensive, perhaps more than the scope.

I am wondering why they can't launch remote-control repair robots. Sure, it takes longer than doing it by hand, but without life-support that is not really a concern AFAIK.

Perhaps they can design it to be robot-service-able, such as special latches and screws designed for robotic utensiles.

If NASA perfected such technology, then future probes could sometimes repair themselves. (Although distant probes would have to use only parts they already have aboard. The first duct-tape to leave the solar system :-)

They could also use such technology to work on the ISS. What is so limiting about remote robots that they must send humans on expensive life-support to do it? A remote-controlled robot can do anything a human can, physical-wise, just at a slower pace. (I suppose some rare tasks may require performing some operation before certain opened-up internals get too much exposure or leakage or whatever.)

Machines are usually cheaper to send than humans. Sure, astronauts may not like it, and it may be less "glory", but it has the potential to be far more economical.

Re:WTF (1)

ELCarlsson (570500) | more than 12 years ago | (#4230500)

I think NASA needs to be real carful with this. If by chance this new telescope has some unforseen problems it's gonna look really bad for NASA. They don't have the best reputation right now and I'd hate to see it get any worse.

Re:WTF (3, Insightful)

pease1 (134187) | more than 12 years ago | (#4231160)

Low Earth Orbit really impacts day to day operations of a telescope like this. HST isn't nearly as effienct as some past space telescopes (IUE comes to mind) because of LEO issues (Earth blocking half the sky, the Van Allen belt wrecks electronics, temperature varition per orbit, etc).

NGST is also mostly a infrared telescope, so it needs to be cold. It's colder at L2 and you don't have to deal with the hot/cold cycles of LEO.

If built right, the ground engineers can work wonders using software fixes. Lots and lots and lots of history of NASA doing this over and over - from IUE to Voyager to Galileo.

Finally, LEO suggests relying on the shuttle. HST did that - originally ST was supposed to be serviced a couple of times a year. Instead, it's going to get serviced four or five times in 10+ years. Given current shuttle problems, the lack of a replacement for the shuttle and the IIS work load, I wouldn't count on the shuttle for anything other than ISS work for the next 15 years.

Sigh - IUE (2)

waldeaux (109942) | more than 12 years ago | (#4236487)

The satellite that wouldn't die.

It had a mission of two years. It lasted 19.
And then it only stopped being used because it
was turned off.

Re:WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4231390)

It will be handled remotely via a new space craft that is designed to work on satellites. Hopefully, people will think about easy future re-fueling and refurbishing.

Re:WTF/Junking up L2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4237933)

1. As various posts on* and elsewhere have pointed out, if things go kaput in x years time, we use the now+x year technology to build an even better telescope. In this case, as per the quote below, to be able to service it, would require a manned launch vehicle that can take one up there, snag it (robotic arm) and get back. I don't see one such being around in the near future (well past 2010) I wonder if one was developed, if it would be cost effective (the shuttle is not). What other uses would be present for such a vehicle ?

"The James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled for launch in 2010 aboard an expendable launch vehicle. It will take about three months for the spacecraft to reach its destination, an orbit 940,000 miles or 1.5 million kilometers in space, called the second Lagrange Point or L2, where the spacecraft is balanced between the gravity of the Sun and the Earth. ...
The most important advantage of this L2 orbit is that a single-sided sun shield on only one side of the observatory can protect Webb from the light and heat of both the Sun and Earth. As a result, the observatory can be cooled to very low temperatures without the use of complicated refrigeration
equipment. These low temperatures are required to prevent the Webb's own heat radiation from exceeding the brightness of the distant cool astronomical objects."

2. More important to me, is : is this the beginning of the end for L2 ? How much longer before L2 is filled with garbage that *never* de-orbits ? Has NASA planned an end of life that will kick it out of there ? I'd be skeptical. Is it time for a 'no dumping in my backyard movement' for outer space ?

Re:WTF/Junking up L2 (2)

stevelinton (4044) | more than 12 years ago | (#4250150)

L2 is quite unstable. Anything there which is not station-keeping will drift into an independent solar orbit quite quickly.

Only L4 and L5 are stable.

Satellite dish on a surfboard (3, Funny)

macdaddy357 (582412) | more than 12 years ago | (#4229882)

That thing looks like a satellite dish on a surfboard. I almost expect to see Silver Surfer kicked back, watching the tube on it.

Pfft.. (2)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 12 years ago | (#4231509)

..Milhouse would have been a better name.

"Those who forget the past... (1)

jayrtfm (148260) | more than 12 years ago | (#4232138)

...are doomed to repeat it"
Lets hope they have learned something from the book "The Hubble Wars: Astrophysics Meets Astropolitics in the Two-Billion-Dollar Struggle over the Hubble Space Telescope"
by Eric J. Chaisson

The JEW? (0, Interesting)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | more than 12 years ago | (#4244315)

Great, now the Arabs are gonna shoot it down.



I new the name was familiar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4247273)

Former assistant attorney general Web Hubble [] . Not a pretty picture.

Adaptive optics making space telescopes obsolete (1)

dolphin558 (533226) | more than 12 years ago | (#4249410)

Interferometry and adaptive optics, while not as preferable as space telescopes, still make justifying the cost of future space telescopes very difficult. I can see ground telescopes(with adaptive optics) having Hubble capabilities in 10-15 years.
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