– Besides satisfying curiosity, what’s the big deal with the James Webb Space Telescope?

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10 billion for a telescope with a lifespan of max 10 years seems like a waste. Are we going to get any info that’s going to make life better on this planet or is this all just a big curiosity satisfier?

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If we knew how the discoveries made by James Webb would influence us in the future, we wouldnt need to make it.

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Exploring the universe is no different than early explorers sailing the oceans.

They dont know exactly what they will find and have no idea how it will impact us in the next 1000 years.

But looking back, we’re certainly happy that they set sail right?

It’ll be doing what is known as fundamental research. Fundamental research leads to………….. who knows. It’s fundamental and not practicable research.

So why not spend money on practicable research?

Where do you think the practicable research comes from?

That’s right, fundamental research.

So why not just do fundamental research which will lead to practicable research?

Because you can’t know that in advance.

So what could it lead to?

Well, a greater understanding of how the universe formed which could lead to new ideas in physics and then those new ideas in physics will lead…………. we’ll see.

Electricity was just a cool parlor trick before Edison and Tesla founded our current civilization on it. You never know what is going to be useful down the road

JWST is particularly exciting because it’s our most sensitive infrared scope ever. Because of red shift (faster an object moves away from you redder it appears) objects in the early universe, or the most distant objects we can measure are only perceptible in infrared. They have theorized what will be there but this is our first real look at it. It’s exciting because we could either confirm the current theory or we might be surprised and have to go back to the drawing board.