The James Webb Space Telescope arrived at its final destination Monday afternoon – after traveling 1 million miles through outer space – where it will collect data and capture images of the earliest stars and galaxies to uncover “the mysteries of the universe,” NASA said.
The telescope performed its final major course correction maneuver Monday afternoon to propel Webb into its new home in orbit around Lagrange Point 2, a gravitational balance point a million miles away from Earth.
The telescope’s new home was chosen because of its location between the gravity forces from the sun and Earth, which creates an equilibrium that allows Webb to maintain orbit with a minimum amount of fuel.
An innovative sunshield on board will keep the Webb telescope shaded and positioned to view half the sky for study, according to NASA.
Because it uses infrared technology, Webb must be kept cold to be able to detect heat, which will allow the telescope to give scientists a look at the parts of the universe that are obstructed with dust and gas and have never been seen by humans.
The Webb mission is designed to last at least 5 and a half years, NASA said, but could last as long as a decade.