Patience you must have.

Last week, NASA announced a major delay to the James Webb Space Telescope, only 10 days before the deadline for the JWST Cycle 1 proposals. I was just starting to get into the proposal-writing groove, running dozens of exposure time calculations, building a team of experts, and juggling multiple telecons with collaborators all over the globe. Every time I did a calculation to see what JWST could do, I was astounded – this is going to be a incredible telescope. After years of hypothetical science cases and conjecture about what JWST would see first, we were starting to build the detailed plans of what JWST would actually do in its first year. It made me really really happy.

But, it turns out that folding and unfolding five layers of mylar sheets the size of a tennis court like an origami crane is harder than you might think. And we only have one chance to get the telescope launched and working properly, so… patience. I guess those light-rays that have travelled billions of years from the other side of the universe can wait for a little while longer.

Jennifer Lotz

Jennifer Lotz

My name is Jennifer Lotz. I'm an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute. With the Hubble Space Telescope, I hunt for the first galaxies in the universe and watch galaxies collide.