Let’s get this out of the way up front: The weather for SXSW 2013 is terrible so far. Austin is dry as a bone for probably 345 days out of the year. Today is not one of the dry days. I snapped this from South Congress crossing the lake going north. On a good day, you can see the state capitol from here.
NASA is here. They’ve set up a full-scale model of what will be the next great observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope. The real JWST will orbit earth at a Lagrange point, which is about one million miles out. This model is getting soaked, and probably wishes it could get outside the weather.
It’s tough to get a sense of scale here or, really, what it even looks like. Here’s shot from the night the model was assembled out next to the Long Center for the Performing Arts.
Here’s a time lapse of its construction.
NASA has a small building full of space interactives behind the JWST model. NASA’s touchscreen is bigger than your touchscreen.
That screen lets users fly around and zoom into Hubble Space Telescope images. The James Webb will replace Hubble, eventually.
Here’s me in infrared. That’s the wavelength in which the Webb will see space. Peering in infrared will allow it to see farther out, and back in time given the nature of light, than any other telescope ever made.
Disclosure time: I used to work on the JWST project back in the day.