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The James Webb Telescope Shows Us What's Possible

The primary mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope being packed up for shipment to its launch site last year. Credit: Chris Gunn/NASA, via Reuters
By Steven Snyder, Ph.D. President and CEO of the Fleet Science Center. 
 
On Feb. 3, NASA announced that the first photons had made their way through the James Webb Space Telescope. This moment marked another milestone in a decades-long effort to expand our view of the universe. I first encountered the Webb 11 years ago at the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C. There, under a sign that read “Seeing the First Light,” a group from NASA was sharing its dreams for the famed Hubble Space Telescope’s successor.