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Posted August 17, 2022

Last December, NASA successfully launched the most powerful and most expensive telescope in history.

Say hello to the James Webb Space Telescope, or the JWST for short.

james webb

The 6.5-metric-ton telescope was more than two decades in the making and cost roughly $10 billion.

Its purpose is to take pictures of deep space and develop a better understanding of planets in our solar system, like Mars.

More on that below...

To accomplish this mission, the JWST is equipped with five massive heat shields the size of a tennis court and a mirror that’s three times as wide as the 32-year-old Hubble telescope's.

Its infrared system is 100 times more powerful than the Hubble's, which means it’ll produce images with higher resolution and better magnification.

By looking so deep into space, Webb effectively acts as a time machine, as it’ll take pictures of what the universe looked like a few hundred million years after the big bang.

After all, when we look to the sky, the light we see is millions or billions of years old, so the further we look into space, the further back in time we can see.

The JWST can also get better images of the molecular makeup of planets.

The telescope successfully crested the atmosphere on December 25 and orbited its way to the Earth’s second Lagrange point, located at the opposite end of the Earth from the sun.

Here’s a diagram for reference, courtesy of NASA...

lagrange

It took 30 days for the telescope to travel nearly a million miles and reach its final resting point.

In January, the telescope completed its most challenging obstacle: unfolding itself in space after being shoved into the Ariane 5 rocket payload fairing, the protective cone at the nose of a rocket.

It’s now maintaining a constant orbit using the combined gravitational pulls of the sun and Earth, where it's peering through space using near- and mid-infrared spectrums.

Last month, it sent the first pictures back from the darkest corners of the solar system right to Baltimore’s very own Space Telescope Science Institute.

At first, it looked like the heavens opened up.

But then, all hell broke loose...

ChorizoGate

On July 31, a French physicist posted a picture on Twitter supposedly taken by the JWST of a faraway star:

chorizo

Étienne Klein said, “This level of detail... A new world is revealed day after day.”

The scientific community and the Twitterverse erupted.

Here are some comments from Twitter users...

“Indeed, the level of detail is astounding! I imagine that a photo of the planet that revolves around (Proxima b if I’m not being stupid) will follow. Revolutionary!”

“Hello with this degree of detail, can we hope for a pixelated sketch of an exoplanet thanks to the JW telescope?”

“Incredible the precision of the image!!!… (especially in the corners).”

Prominent scientific organizations reposted the picture, blissfully ignorant of the fact that it was a slice of chorizo sausage.

Even news outlets, including Fox, reached out to Klein asking for permission to repost the picture.

Irish astrophysicist Peter Coles said of the whole affair, "ChorizoGate all took off in a very surprising way. I'm not sure what the moral of this story is, other than if you make a joke, no matter how obvious it is, there will always be people who take it seriously..."

It's a good example of pareidolia, where our minds create familiar images out of random shapes.

Think watching clouds or seeing a man in the moon.

This slice of chorizo looks like Mars to me, and as hilariously distracting as this Twitter post might be, the Webb telescope is in fact solving critical problems on Mars as we speak to see whether it could be hospitable to humans in the future.

Cycle 1: Mission to Mars

A major component of the Webb telescope's mission is to get a better understanding of Mars.

The first year of the telescope's operations is called Cycle 1, which includes a Guaranteed Time Observation (GTO) project of Mars led by planetary astronomer Heidi Hammel.

Researchers want to know exactly why and how Mars transitioned from being a wet planet to a dry one.

Evidence shows that Mars once had a vast ocean of water, and the Webb telescope will be able to tell us what happened.

Hammel notes, "Webb will return extremely interesting measurements of chemistry in the Martian atmosphere. And most importantly, these Mars data will be immediately available to the planetary community to enable them to plan even more detailed Mars observation with Webb in future cycles."

The data should be available soon.

But there's one big secret that NASA's keeping from us.

It's why Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have been blasting themselves into space and why the federal government just co-signed Apple's latest patent.

It's because the U.S. needs to know if humans can mine natural resources on Mars.

Sounds far-fetched now, but Mars is resource-rich.

It's why it's called the "Red Planet" — because it's covered in rust from all the iron.

It's also rich with titanium, nickel, copper, aluminum, silicon, and magnesium, to name a few.

My colleague Christian DeHaemer says we're on the cusp of the "Mars Metal Age," and one of the metals referenced above will reign supreme.

Not to mention, there's only ONE company in America supplying this revolutionary new material right now.

Chris sees massive upside to this space-age opportunity.

Read on for more details.

Stay free,

Alexander Boulden
Editor, Wealth Daily

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After Alexander’s passion for economics and investing drew him to one of the largest financial publishers in the world, where he rubbed elbows with former Chicago Board Options Exchange floor traders, Wall Street hedge fund managers, and International Monetary Fund analysts, he decided to take up the pen and guide others through this new age of investing.

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