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The James Webb Space Telescope prepares to launch

The James Webb Space Telescope, the biggest, most powerful space telescope in history, is set to launch into space on Christmas Day.

It has been developed by NASA together with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Swiss scientists have been closely involved in the project and some Swiss technology is on board.

The orbiting infrared observatory is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. With a much bigger primary mirror, the Webb, as it is known, is 100 times more sensitive than the Hubble and can look greater distances and farther back into time. The 5-10 year space mission aims to gather information on the universe’s earliest stages, star formation, and whether planets beyond our solar system may be suitable for life, among other issues.

The Webb has been delayed many times but is due to blast off on an Ariane 5 rocket from a site in French Guiana on December 25. 

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR