Origin of the Cosmos & Origin of Life – Tony Hull, Diana Dragomir, Bob Woodruff

Celebrating the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes. Our Panel of Astronomers all have a hand in the mission of the Webb Space Telescope (JWST) from design, to build, to deciphering the data collected. Continuing the tradition of stunning images delivered by the beloved Hubble Telescope, Webb will extend into a spectrum Hubble cannot see, reaching to new dimensions of understanding about the universe. The largest and most complex and sophisticated scientific apparatus yet invented, built, and deployed, it is optimized to capture “the first light from the first galaxies in the emerging universe”. Join us in celebrating the science, and the scientists, soon to help us to better understand our Universe, and our place in it.
Bob Woodruff, aka “Woody”, optical designer finding the correction saving Hubble from its early severe issues and later personally initiated the optical form of the Webb Space Telescope, unlike any telescope the world has seen. Woody has been a key player in the most advanced high-performing space telescopes and instruments NASA has implemented. He will take us on a fascinating first-hand, behind the scenes look at the fix of Hubble, then devising a new telescope paradigm for Webb which launched beautifully on Christmas Day.
Tony Hull, UNM Professor, led the team that spent five years polishing the Webb mirror segments, together comprising nearly 8x the area of Hubble’s. He will explain the exhaustive processes not only to make the mirrors, but to ensure the elegant complexity of Webb would deploy properly. While the high-risk deployment appears to be remarkably successful, Webb continues to optimize for the start of science measurements in 5 months.
Diana Dragomir, UNM Professor, will conduct studies of planets outside the Solar System using JWST. She’ll cover the strategies to detect and measure potential signs of life beyond our planet, how life may have originated, here and ’out there’, how life is defined, and how “every aspect of the Universe has life cycles.” Webb measurements will both answer fundamental questions about life and about the formation of the universe, certainly bringing forth previously unimagined questions to ponder.

Hosted by Laura Lee and Paul Robear. Conversation4Exploration, Conversation 4 Exploration, Conversation for Exploration, Cuyamungue: Felicitas D. Goodman Institute, The Laura Lee Show