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NASA launches James Webb Space Telescope on Christmas Day

  • NASA launches James Webb Space Telescope on Christmas Day
    An Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana carrying NASA’s next-generation space observatory. NASA launches James Webb Space Telescope on Christmas Day
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An Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana carrying NASA’s next-generation space observatory.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the world’s largest and most powerful, rocketed away from South America into the sky Christmas morning.

An Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana carrying NASA’s next-generation space observatory.

"#NASAWebb is now on its way to its new home a million miles from Earth, where it will #UnfoldTheUniverse in ways we’ve never seen before," NASA tweeted following the launch.

It will be the biggest and most powerful astronomical observatory ever to leave the planet, elaborate in its design and ambitious in its scope. At a budget-busting $10 billion, it is the most expensive and also the trickiest, by far, to pull off.

The James Webb Space Telescope will seek out the faint, twinkling light from the first stars and galaxies, providing a glimpse into cosmic creation. Its infrared eyes will also stare down black holes and hunt for alien worlds, scouring the atmospheres of planets for water and other possible hints of life.