Preview NASA's Upcoming Mission to Launch World's Most Powerful Telescope

November 30, 2021

Madeline Anderson

Lecture at Daniel M. Soref Planetarium, Dec. 9, 2021

MILWAUKEE — In cooperation with the Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee Public Museum’s Daniel M. Soref Planetarium is giving visitors an exciting opportunity to preview NASA’s latest mission: launching the largest and most powerful telescope ever built, the James Webb Space Telescope (Webb), into orbit later this month.

During a free, 60-minute lecture at the Planetarium called Star Power: Journey to Deep Space with James Webb Space Telescope, Director Bob Bonadurer will go behind the scenes of Webb’s upcoming space conquests, and explain what they can mean for the future of space exploration and education. The lecture will utilize  the immersive full dome capabilities of the Planetarium, including animations, HD video and deep-space photos.

Using its special lens to capture infrared light—a type of light that’s invisible to the human eye, but often experienced in the form of heat—Webb will be able to see through clouds of dust and gas, called nebulae, to observe the very first galaxies. Webb will also search for potentials for extraterrestrial life.

“Searching for our cosmic origins is the ultimate goal of NASA's new James Webb Space Telescope,” Bonadurer said. 

Webb will replace NASA’s current telescope in space, the Hubble Space Telescope, which launched in 1990. While Hubble orbits the Earth, Webb will orbit the sun in a spot on the other side of the moon. 

“Just as we’ve made improvements in smartphone technology, we’ve paralleled those advancements with our telescopes,“ Bonadurer said. “They can see better and farther than ever before.”

Funding for Star Power: Journey to Deep Space with James Webb Space Telescope is thanks to the Milwaukee Public Museum, through a grant from NASA’s NASA@ My Library project. 

Star Power: Journey to Deep Space with James Webb Space Telescope will take place Thursday, December 9, 2021, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Please note that there is a limit of 120 people for the in-person showing. Those who are interested in a virtual option may also attend the program via Zoom. All attendees must register at the Planetarium website:

Webb is scheduled to blast off December 22. 

About the Milwaukee Public Museum

The Milwaukee Public Museum is Wisconsin’s natural history museum, welcoming over half a million visitors annually. Located in downtown Milwaukee, the Museum was chartered in 1882, opened to the public in 1884, and currently houses more than 4 million objects in its collections. MPM has three floors of exhibits that encompass life-size dioramas, walk-through villages, world cultures, dinosaurs, a rainforest, and a live butterfly garden, as well as the Daniel M. Soref Dome Theater & Planetarium. MPM is operated by Milwaukee Public Museum, Inc., a private, non-profit company, and its facilities and collections are held in trust and supported by Milwaukee County for the benefit of the public. 

About the Daniel M. Soref Planetarium

MPM's Planetarium is Wisconsin's largest and most modern, and is the first Planetarium in the world to debut a Digistar 6 computer projection system that fills the entire Dome Theater with stunning 3D animations, creating an immersive astronomy experience. You'll see breathtaking vistas of the night sky, planets, the Milky Way, and distant wonders of the universe.

About the Milwaukee Public Library

Since 1878, Milwaukee Public Library has been a free provider of education and information for residents of Milwaukee and beyond. With 14 locations, and more than three million items in circulation, MPL offers free access to a rich collection of materials both physical and digital, access to technology, classes, exhibitions, programming and more. 

About NASA@ My Library

Through the NASA@ My Library project, NASA, public libraries, and state library agencies work together to increase and enhance STEM learning opportunities for millions of library patrons throughout the nation, including geographic areas and populations that are currently underserved in STEM education.