This post is part of the Roadmap To The Future Series. Roadmap To The Future explores innovative industry trends and breakthroughs in science, entertainment, and technology. This series is sponsored by Verizon.
The James Webb telescope will launch in 2018 as the successor to the long-running Hubble Telescope, which has been taking pictures of the early universe for 22 years. The giant space telescope will travel one million miles from Earth, and will hopefully be able to see the first galaxies that formed in the early universe, more than 13 billion years ago.
The James Webb isn’t a replacement to the Hubble, although it will be able to look farther back in time using infrared — the spectrum in which light from more distant objects can be seen.
An awesome full-scale model of the space telescope was on display at South by Southwest this weekend, an annual conference in Austin, TX.
Although the real James Webb is being built and its parts tested at NASA's Goddard Space Flight centre in Maryland, the full-scale model was constructed in Austin, Texas for South by Southwest.
JWST will have a primary mirror, made up of 18 hexagon segments. The whole thing is 22 feet in diameter, which is about 2.7 times larger than the diameter of Hubble.
The replica weights 12,000 pounds and is made mostly out of aluminium and steel. The gold-coloured hexagons on the real telescope that will be sent to space will be gold-plated mirrors.
Webb has a much bigger mirror than Hubble, meaning it can collect more light and peer farther back into time than its predecessor.
A crew of volunteers who worked on the telescope stand in front of the model. It gives you an idea of just how big the structure is.
Here's an image of components for the real telescope being tested at NASA's Goddard centre. A structure, wrapped in gold blankets, is being tested to see whether or not it can withstand the extreme temperatures of space.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.