Astronomers like Christine Chen are excited about the upcoming launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.

The $ 10 billion instrument half the size of a 737 airplane and replete with gold-plated mirrors, it will orbit the earth a million miles, looking into places humankind has never seen before. This includes some of the the first stars ever born, the most distant galaxies and curious planets in the cosmos.

“It’s really cool,” marveled Chen, an astronomer at the Science Institute for Space Telescopes, a…



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