Is JWST out of focus or have we lost our vision?

JWST

JWST a Mirror into NASA’s Future?

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)could prove to be one if the most important missions that not just NASA but mankind has ever undertaken. The human race has looked up at the stars as long as we have existed and pondered our place in the universe.

We now have the technology to answer some of the ultimate questions that those before us could not. Thanks to our technology we can now peer deeper into space, and further back in time, than has ever been possible. We have the technology, but do we have the will? In the 60’s America was focused on the future, nothing was impossible. In every respect we knew then that our generation would be measured by it’s ability to plan for the future and act on that plan. It seems that today we have lost that vision, that ability to dream of tomorrow. The recent near cancellation of JWST is just one example of that, another is the ending of the Space Shuttle program and the fact that it has no replacement in place.

America can no longer send a man into space on her own.Yes JWST is expensive, but so was the trip to America by Columbus. All cutting edge projects are. The cost of exploration has no guarantee of return. If we are not willing to explore, to expand our horizons what will become of us? As with Hubble we know that we will have a view of the universe we have never seen before. We know we will learn things and expand mankind’s understanding of our place in the universe. Even the average person will benefit by this increase in our understanding. It has religious, political, and intellectual implications.

We are on the verge of a world that is inner focused, not thinking of tomorrow, of loosing the ability to dream, the capability to change the future, and to understand that serendipity will indeed bring progress. One cannot predict what we will learn but we know that we will learn. If we do not explore we only know one thing…we will NOT learn. We cannot allow this to happen. Each of us has to make a change. We are part of the problem, we are part of the solution. The choice is ours how will history remember us?

About the author

Recipient of many prestigious NASA Awards including the Exceptional Public Service Medal and the Robert H. Goddard award. Experience includes working for NASA, as a contractor, in satellite design, construction and operations. Expert in the satellite operations concepts and ground systems including command, control, and science data processing.