I finally got around to finishing my mirror etching of the James Webb Space Telescope! It’s made in exactly the same way as my Moon Mirrors. If you’ve never heard of JWST, that’s probably because it isn’t in space yet, despite its original launch date being sometime in 2007. There have been lots of issues with how long the project has taken and cost, but when launched will offer an entirely new perspective on the universe than any scope we’ve had so far.
This initial inspiration for making this mirror is simply that I love the endless symmetry of tessellating shapes, and for that JWST has always drawn my eye. Hexagons are my favorite (a truly superior shape!), and hexagons that can do science are even better. JWST is made up of 18 hexagonal mirror segments which will combine to form the largest diameter telescope we have in space. The wavelength range it observes in will allow us to see stars older and farther than ever before- a reflection of the universe’s ancient past. See a picture of JWST (below) being put together in a giant clean room at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
[Image Credit for JWST photo to NASA/Goddard]