Arrival of James Webb Space Telescope is next chapter for ‘mega-science’

As the James Webb Space Telescope reaches its destination, a million miles from Earth, University of Alberta space historian Robert Smith will be watching almost as closely as scientists in NASA’s control room.

Smith has staked his career on documenting every phase of the Webb and Hubble telescopes over the past four decades and is recognized as the on-the-scene historian of these enormously complex collaborations among thousands of scientists at NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

The Webb is the most complex scientific spacecraft ever launched, said Smith. It’s an example of what he calls “mega-science,” and also the biggest gamble in space science history.

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