New Delhi | Jagran Trending Desk: On Saturday (January 08) the most powerful space telescope -- The James Webb Space Telescope completed its two-week-long deployment, unfolding the final mirror panel as it readies to study every phase of cosmic history.

Taking to Twitter, the US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) wrote, "The final wing is now deployed." NASA said the team was working "to latch the wing into place, a multi-hour process."

The telescope was transported folded-up as it was too large to fit into a rocket's nose cone in its operational configuration. According to the space agency, unfurling the telescope was one of the most complex and challenging tasks. The deployment and unfolding of the James Webb Space Telescope was the most daunting project attempted by NASA. 

The James Webb Space Telescope is the successor of Hubble and is one of the most powerful space telescopes ever built. On December 25, the James Webb Space Telescope blasted off in an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana and is heading to its orbital point, a million miles (1.5 million kilometers) from Earth.

"Two weeks after launch, NASA Webb has hit its next biggest milestone: the mirrors have completed deployment, and the next-generation telescope has taken its final form," NASA tweeted. 

"Next up for Webb? Five months of alignment and calibration before we start getting images," it added.

Its infrared technology allows it to see the first stars and galaxies that formed 13.5 billion years ago, giving astronomers new insight into the earliest epoch of the Universe.

"Before we celebrate, we've still got work to do," NASA said in its live updates. "When the final latch is secure, NASA Webb will be fully unfolded in space."

Earlier this week, the telescope deployed its five-layered sunshield -- a 70-foot (21 meter) long, kite-shaped apparatus that acts like a parasol, ensuring Webb's instruments are kept in the shade so they can detect faint infrared signals from the far reaches of the Universe.

(With AFP inputs)

Posted By: Mallika Mehzabeen