What the James Webb Telescope Might Tell Scientists
On Dec. 25, 2021, the James Webb Telescope was launched. This telescope uses infrared technology to see some of the darkest areas of space and capture images that scientists have never been able to see.
On July 12, 2022, many of the first images the telescope captured were released to the public. These images have already excited scientists who hope that we can learn more about the universe we are living in and use the images the telescope provides to help answer some of our oldest questions.
For Yuri Milner, the author of “Eureka Manifesto” and founder of the Breakthrough Initiatives, this telescope is an example of the power of technology to advance our civilization’s true mission – to explore and understand the vast cosmos around us. Here are some of the questions he hopes the James Webb Telescope can help answer.
Understanding How Earth and the Solar System May Evolve Over Time
In “Eureka Manifesto,” Yuri Milner states, “The laws of physics tell us that islands of complexity like the solar system and the Earth will continue to form for many billions of years to come. It seems inevitable that evolution will, over time, create life, minds, and civilizations that will keep expanding the scope of their discoveries.”
There is no doubt that the Earth and humans will continue to evolve. However, scientists cannot predict the direction of these changes and whether there will be substantial changes that may make Earth inhospitable to humans or vice versa. There is hope that the telescope may provide insight into evolution in the past as well as the future.
Determining the Potential For a Large Asteroid or Comet to Hit Our Planet
In “Eureka Manifesto” Yuri Milner wrote about existential risks to our planet and our civilization: “The most pressing such risk is a collision with a large asteroid or comet. Events like the 1908 Tunguska collision, when an object around 100 meters in length flattened 800 square miles of forest, happen about once every 200 years.” It is widely believed that dinosaurs, as well as numerous other lifeforms on Earth, went extinct due to an asteroid strike, and the same could happen to humans. The James Webb Telescope may be able to provide scientists with images of comets or asteroids that may collide with Earth well before it happens, allowing us to prepare or devise a plan to re-route or break up the asteroid or comet.
Learning if There is Life in Space
In his “Eureka Manifesto,” science and technology investor Yuri Milner wrote, “The two possibilities — that we are the only intelligent civilization capable of exploring and understanding our Universe, or that there are others out there — may have important implications for our long-term survival and the progress of the Mission.” Unfortunately, at this time we do not know if we are alone in space or if there are any other lifeforms in space. The James Webb Telescope may help us to determine if there is life anywhere else in space and if there is life out there, where that life may be, and how intelligent it may be.
The James Webb Telescope is being touted as a revolutionary piece of equipment that will forever change the way space is explored and viewed. This is an exciting moment for the scientific community, including Yuri Milner. The author of “Eureka Manifesto” and founder of the Breakthrough Initiatives believes that the telescope may be exactly what the world needs to obtain answers to some of the oldest questions about space, plus other important questions that can be vital to human survival both now and in the future.