The Carina Nebula, as photographed by the James Webb Space Telescope in 2022. The image is divided horizontally by a line between a cloudscape forming a nebula along the bottom portion and a comparatively clear upper portion. Speckled across both portions is a starfield, showing innumerable stars of many sizes. The smallest of these are small, distant, and faint points of light. The largest of these appear larger, closer, brighter, and more fully resolved with 8-point diffraction spikes. The upper portion of the image is blueish, and has wispy translucent cloud-like streaks rising from the nebula below. The orangish cloudy formation in the bottom half varies in density and ranges from translucent to opaque. The stars vary in color, the majority of which have a blue or orange hue. The cloud-like structure of the nebula contains ridges, peaks, and valleys – an appearance very similar to a mountain range. Three long diffraction spikes from the top right edge of the image suggest the presence of a large star just out of view.

Exploring Space with LabXchange and NASA's James Webb Space Telescope

Ready to see space through a whole new lens? LabXchange is excited to highlight our latest space-based cluster of learning resources: Exploring the Universe with James Webb.

In this cluster, curious astrophiles of all ages can discover how NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) was designed, built, launched, and deployed, and how it may help us uncover secrets about the origin of stars, planets, and the universe as a whole.

Made up of ten pathways and 108 learning resources from NASA, the Space Telescope Science Institute, Veritasium, and other collaborators, this cluster walks learners through the fundamentals of the JWST's engineering and the potential new discoveries that are likely to stem from its amazing technology.

Against a background of stars in the night sky with bursts of luminous purple, ten small hexagons contain space-themed illustrations, such as an astronaut and a moon, a spaceship, and a solar system.

Discover more about the learning pathways that make up the Exploring the Universe with James Webb cluster:

1. Designing the James Webb Space Telescope

Embark on an exciting journey through the universe and the brilliant minds behind the James Webb Space Telescope. Discover the vision of James Webb and the innovative technology that powers this groundbreaking space mission, revealing the mysteries of space along the way.

2. Elements of Webb

Journey into the groundbreaking engineering and intricate materials that power the JWST. Delve into the telescope's extraordinary design, driven by scientific precision. From the remarkable beryllium mirrors to the intricacies of gold coatings, we journey into the heart of a Utah mine to unravel the rarity of these materials.

3. Launch of the James Webb Space Telescope

Explore the James Webb Space Telescope's remarkable journey, from conception to launch and arrival in space at Lagrange point 2. Uncover the endeavor's global collaboration, cutting-edge technology, and profound contributions to astrophysics.

4. Deployment of the James Webb Space Telescope

To unfold the history of the universe we must first unfold the largest primary mirror, the largest sun shield, and the most powerful space telescope ever built. Find out why the James Webb Space Telescope orbits at the second Lagrange point, the challenges of deploying the telescope, and why its sunshield is so groundbreaking.

5. Evolution of the Early Universe

The James Webb Space Telescope peers into the dawn of our universe to reveal the light stemming from the Big Bang that first illuminated the cosmos we know today. Jump into this cosmic time machine as James Webb takes us to the beginning of the universe.

6. Galaxy Formation and Evolution

The James Webb Space Telescope studies every phase in the history of our universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System. Discover how the telescope is pushing the frontiers of astronomy to answer the mysteries of galactic composition and structure in this pathway.

7. The Origin of Stars and Planets

Embark on a cosmic journey of discovery as you unravel the mysteries of star formation, witness the breathtaking birth of stars and learning the celestial recipe for crafting entire planets with the James Webb Space Telescope.

8. Evidence of Life

For years, we have sought to answer this question: Are we alone in the universe? Teams working on the James Webb Space Telescope may be able to provide some answers. This pathway looks at the methods used to determine whether exoplanets have the necessary building blocks for life, as well as the evidence of potential life elsewhere in the universe that has already been found.

9. Exploring Telescopes in Space

In this engaging pathway, learn about the Hubble Space Telescope, James Webb Space Telescope, NASA's Fermi Satellite, and more. Discover how these cutting-edge instruments work and what celestial mysteries they're designed to unveil, then conduct a fun and educational activity at home or in the classroom.

10. Future Space Exploration with James Webb

Glimpse the findings the James Webb Space Telescope will unveil with its powerful infrared vision; exploring galaxies, star formation, exoplanets, and the universe's ancient history.

Want to learn more about space? Previously released clusters about NASA's space exploration include Space Biology, Mission to Mars, and Artemis I: Mission to the Moon.

Written by
Chris Burnett
Digital Content Specialist

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