Press Release

Mikulski Opens Webb Telescope Exhibit at Maryland Science Center

By SpaceRef Editor
October 27, 2011
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Mikulski Opens Webb Telescope Exhibit at Maryland Science Center

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver joined U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) during a dedication of a permanent exhibit of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore Wednesday at an event featuring national political, science and technology luminaries. The exhibit is a donation to the museum by the Northrop Grumman Corporation of Falls Church, Va.

“I believe in the science and innovation that have made America a world leader in discovery. There is no other mission planned either by NASA or any other space agency that can achieve the scientific goals of the James Webb Space Telescope,” said Sen. Mikulski, chairwoman of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee that funds NASA and staunch supporter of the WEBB telescope. “In Maryland, science is jobs. Scientific innovation creates jobs and economic growth through innovative products and new businesses. The James Webb Space Telescope will keep America in the lead for science and technology and inspire students to learn science, technology, engineering and math to become the scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. This exhibit gives Marylanders the opportunity to see American scientific ingenuity up close.”

The permanent Webb telescope display will feature a 1/20th scale model of the telescope, large graphic panels explaining the science behind the Webb mission and a continually updated multimedia show provided by the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. “Hubble has made it possible for us to rewrite science textbooks as we uncovered vast new areas of knowledge and witnessed phenomena never before seen,” NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver said. “Webb will build on this knowledge and help us reveal the unknown. It is also important to remember that while these missions occur in space, the investments made, and the jobs created to support these missions, happen right here on Earth and right here in Maryland. NASA has always been an engine of economic growth and job creation and the Webb Telescope is just the latest example.”

The event featured three Maryland Nobel Prize winners: 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; and Riccardo Giacconi, recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics and university professor at the Johns Hopkins University. Also attending was John Grunsfeld, deputy director of the Space Telescope Science Institute and a former astronaut who participated in three spaceflights to service Hubble. “The spark that ignites the curiosity in Nobel Prize winners may well begin right here at the Maryland Science Center,” said Jeff Grant, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman Space Systems Division.

“We hope this new exhibit about the James Webb Space Telescope will provide such inspiration. For 21 years, the Hubble Space Telescope has altered our understanding of the universe. Twenty years from now, the future scientists we inspire today will be using the James Webb Space Telescope to rewrite even more textbooks.” The Webb telescope will feature an ultra-light weight 21-foot (6.5-meter) diameter primary mirror and a tennis-court-sized five-layer sunshield to enable its infrared instruments to collect very faint images of star and galaxy formation billions of years ago. The telescope will add to observations by earlier space telescopes, and stretch the frontiers of science with its discoveries.

A life-size model displayed at the museum since Oct. 14 shows the telescope’s complexity and how the observatory will enable the Webb telescope’s unique mission. Successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, the Webb telescope is the world’s next-generation space observatory. It is the most powerful space telescope ever built. Webb will observe the most distant objects in the universe, provide images of the very first galaxies ever formed and study planets around distant stars. The Webb telescope is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

For more information about the Webb telescope, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.