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Artist's illustration of the James Webb Space Telescope. Photo: NASA GSFC/CIL/Adriana Manrique Gutierrez

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is fully deployed in space, paving the way for its groundbreaking science to come.

Why it matters: The $10 billion JWST is designed to peer into the atmospheres of distant alien worlds, capturing the light of some of the first galaxies and piecing together how stars evolve in clouds of dust.

What's happening: Engineers on Earth on Saturday unfurled the last segment of the telescope's large, gold-coated primary mirror, marking the final major step in the risky deployment process that began after the JWST's launch on Christmas Day.

  • "Today, NASA achieved another engineering milestone decades in the making. While the journey is not complete, I join the Webb team in breathing a little easier and imagining the future breakthroughs bound to inspire the world," NASA administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement.

What's next: The telescope is continuing on its way out to a point about 1 million miles from Earth where it will conduct its science.

  • The JWST will perform a "mid-course correction burn" to keep it on track to get out to its perch shortly, and the telescope will start to align its mirrors for the sensitive science ahead, according to NASA.
  • The telescope will also need to calibrate its instruments ahead of starting science operations later this year.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 15, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Earth's climate went off the rails in 2021, reports show

Temperature departures from average in degrees Celsius during 2021. (Berkeley Earth).

Global warming became local to a new and devastating extent in 2021, with the year ranking as the sixth-warmest on record, according to new, independent data from NASA, NOAA and Berkeley Earth.

Why it matters: Each year's data adds to the relentless long-term trend, which shows rapid warming due overwhelmingly to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions during the past several decades in particular.

Hope King, author of Closer
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Peloton pumps its brakes

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Peloton’s popularity is falling as swiftly as it shot up.

Why it matters: Not all pandemic habits stick around. Peloton's trajectory over the past two years exemplifies how challenging it's been for companies to gauge shifts in consumer demand — particularly in sectors heavily altered by the pandemic.

First look: Senators propose bill to ban corporate PACs

Sens. Jon Ossoff and Mark Kelly. Photos: Chip Somodevilla (left), Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

Sens. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) will soon propose a bill prohibiting for-profit corporations from establishing and managing political action committees, according to a copy of the legislation obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The introduction of "The Ban Corporate PACs Act" comes amid heightened scrutiny on Capitol Hill regarding money in politics, including efforts to bar companies from influencing political campaigns and federal elections. It would likely face a court challenge and First Amendment concerns.