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This is an artist's rendering of the James Webb Space Telescope. The kite-shaped sunshield is the largest component of the telescope. NASA GSFC/CIL/Adriana Manrique Gutierrez hide caption

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NASA GSFC/CIL/Adriana Manrique Gutierrez

Science

Why the most powerful space telescope ever needs to be kept really, really cold

The James Webb Space Telescope will give a glimpse of the earliest galaxies formed after the Big Bang — but only if the telescope is kept frigid. That's why there's a tennis court-sized sunshield.

Memorials hang from the front gate of Greenwood Cemetery during an event and procession organized by Naming the Lost Memorials to remember and celebrate the lives of those killed by the COVID-19 pandemic on June 8 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

COVID sent last year's U.S. death rate soaring, especially among people of color

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This is an artist's rendering of the James Webb Space Telescope. The kite-shaped sunshield is the largest component of the telescope. NASA GSFC/CIL/Adriana Manrique Gutierrez hide caption

toggle caption
NASA GSFC/CIL/Adriana Manrique Gutierrez

Why the most powerful space telescope ever needs to be kept really, really cold

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1064183308/1066642335" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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