He’s been vilified for years on the internet by some astronomers and physicists — but is it true?

Artists model of James Webb Space Telescope with Sun shield deployed as it will look once in space. (NASA)

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is NASA’s next great flagship observatory. It’s set to continue — and extend — the illustrious scientific tradition established by the Hubble Space Telescope, while peering deeper into the universe and observing what Hubble could not.

James Edwin Webb, the telescope’s namesake, was the second person to ever lead NASA, at the helm from 1961 until 1968 during the storied Apollo era. Thanks to his forward vision and administrative skill, Webb is credited with establishing NASA’s aerospace infrastructure and scientific focus that has made NASA the undisputed worldwide leader in space exploration and research…

That doesn’t necessarily mean there’s life — but it’s an exciting sign that it’s possible

A self-portrait of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. Credit: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

For over a century, science fiction authors have imagined that humanities’ first contact with extraterrestrial life would come via intelligent humanoid aliens arriving on Earth in technologically advanced spaceships, likely in pursuit of interstellar conquest. If the latest Red Planet news from NASA turns out to be that first contact, the reality is far more mundane than the fiction. There may be Martians, but if so, we’ve only seen their gas, not their ships. Even calling it “their” gas may be getting ahead of ourselves.

Over the weekend, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate announced that the Mars Curiosity Rover has detected…

Hakeem Oluseyi

Astrophysicist, Professor, Author, Educator, TV Host, and Science Communicator

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