Quartz wrote that on March 1, NASA astrophysics Amber Straugh explained that to achieve this ambitious goal, scientists rely on the help of a giant infrared telescope that can observe the formation of stars 13 billion years -light away.
It is a team of astrophysicists who are completing the last round of testing on the James Webb Space Telescope (also known as Webb or JWST), due to launch in October 2018.
This is a giant, four-story-tall tennis court-sized instrument (created under a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency) and is poised to capture the tiny Light from the corners of space.
“Make no mistake, this is very, very difficult, getting to the brink of impossible”, Straugh explained during an online talk.
The Webb telescope took about 20 years to develop and will have the mission to replace the Hubble Space Telescope. Unlike the latter, Webb works with infrared technology. That is, instead of using light to form images, it uses heat. These innovations and improvements will allow scientists to observe the first stars (which are now “capped” by a cosmic dust cloud) and understand how they formed.
The scientists further explain that after the Big Bang, the universe was basically a hot mixture of particles, made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons. And when it began to cool, the light sources split the hydrogen atoms on a large scale, and transformed the atom from neutral to ionized. It is thus believed that this event caused the light to travel freely for the first time, eventually originating the stars and eventually also the galaxies.
The creation of the first stars marked the end of what astrophysicists call the “dark ages” of the Universe. Scientists suspect that this will have been millions of years after the Big Bang, but they cannot pinpoint how or when.
And it will be exactly here that the new Webb telescope comes into action. This will allow and help them to better understand this event because it will make it possible to ‘see’ in the darkness of the past and photograph the light of the stars that existed at the beginning of the cosmos.
“Imagine the light coming out of the stars and galaxies for the first 13.6 billion years ago, and traveling through time and space to get to our telescopes”, NASA explained.
However, it must be borne in mind that too much can go wrong, the telescope will be so far apart in space that it cannot repair any damage that may exist, being situated farther from the Earth than any other human construction Has been in space.
While this experience is still far from the true ‘time travel’ with which we have been feeding our imagery since Marty McFlye and Doc Brown in ‘Return to the Future’, it certainly will not fail to illuminate our future.