Carl Sagan Narrates the Trailer for NASA’s Next Telescope Launch

While rockets like SpaceX’s Starship get plenty of attention, other big leaps are also happening in space. On December 24, one huge project that’s been in the works since the late 1990s will finally bloom in orbit around Earth: the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). In the below trailer for the mission launch, Carl Sagan’s soothing voice gives us a reminder of all we have to explore in the universe.

NASA recently uploaded the trailer to its YouTube channel, building hype for the upcoming mission, a joint effort between the US. space agency, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency. The telescope, which is the size of a large truck, will fly into orbit aboard an Ariane 5 rocket. The rocket itself is set to launch from French Guiana.

A look at the giant primary mirror at the heart of the James Webb Telescope NASA will soon be launching.

In the video, NASA shows us glimpses of Earth, the Milky Way, and Jupiter. Along with visualizations of Cassini in orbit around Saturn and Webb itself in orbit around Earth. Over the stunning images Sagan’s voice notes that we have “uncovered wonders undreamt by our ancestors who first speculated on the nature of those wandering lights in the night sky,” adding that we’ve “crossed the solar system and sent ships to the stars.”

During its tenure in orbit around Earth Webb’s infrared telescope will explore a wide range of science questions. It will directly observe parts of space and time we’ve never seen before, looking further back into the universe’s past than even Hubble can. NASA says the telescope will pick up on ultraviolet and visible light emitted by the “very first” luminous objects. (The continual expansion of the universe means that visible and UV light from these objects become “redshifted” into the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.)

While the satellite is set to launch into space soon, there will still be six months of instrument calibration in orbit. And that’s if everything goes off without a hitch. In the video immediately above, NASA shows what an ideal deployment sequence would look like. And to say engineers and scientists have their work cut out for them would be an understatement. Although, once it’s in orbit, Webb will help us to hold a mirror up to the universe, and, consequently, ourselves. (We don’t sound as good as Sagan, but we try.)

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