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The James Webb Space Telescope's primary mirror is made up of 18 hexagonal segments. Now that the telescope is in space, mission managers need to perfectly align them so the segments work as one giant mirror. NASA/Chris Gunn hide caption

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NASA/Chris Gunn

The James Webb Space Telescope's primary mirror is illuminated inside a darkened clean room. The entire telescope is now packed inside a rocket, awaiting launch. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center hide caption

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NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Why some astronomers once feared NASA's James Webb Space Telescope would never launch

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NASA engineer Ernie Wright observes the first 6 flight ready primary mirror segments on the James Webb Space Telescope. The primary mirror is made up of 18 of these hexagonal-shaped mirror segments. NASA/MSFC/David Higginbotham hide caption

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NASA/MSFC/David Higginbotham

The Pacific Ocean from space. In both liquid and frozen form, water covers most of the Earth's surface, and there's been a debate among scientists about where all the water originated. Stocktrek Images/Getty Images hide caption

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Stocktrek Images/Getty Images

Water, Water, Every Where — And Now Scientists Know Where It Came From

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An artist's conception of the most-distant supermassive black hole ever discovered, which is part of a quasar from just 690 million years after the Big Bang. Robin Dienel/Courtesy of the Carnegie Institution for Science/Nature hide caption

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Robin Dienel/Courtesy of the Carnegie Institution for Science/Nature

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveals a cluster of more than half a million stars in the Milky Way galaxy using infrared vision. NASA, ESA and Hubble Heritage Team hide caption

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NASA, ESA and Hubble Heritage Team

Astronaut Reid Wiseman captured this image from the International Space Station and posted it on Sept. 28, 2014, writing: "The Milky Way steals the show from Sahara sands that make the Earth glow orange," according to NASA's website. Reid Wiseman/NASA hide caption

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Reid Wiseman/NASA

Spiral galaxy NGC 6814, whose luminous nucleus and spectacular sweeping arms, rippled with an intricate pattern of dark dust, are captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. ESA/Hubble & NASA hide caption

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ESA/Hubble & NASA

A stellar nursery consisting of a group of thick clouds of dust, known as the Thackeray globules, silhouetted against the pale pink glowing gas of the nebula, as captured by the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope. ESO hide caption

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ESO

A visualization of the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background, or CMB, as detected by ESA's Planck satellite over the entire sky. ESA and the Planck Collaboration hide caption

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ESA and the Planck Collaboration

An image of the large spiral galaxy NGC 1232, located about 100 million light-years away in the constellation Eridanus (The River). The central areas contain older stars of reddish color, while the spiral arms are populated by young, blue stars and many star-forming regions. ESO hide caption

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ESO

Some physicists are pushing back against ideas like string theory and the multiverse. Here, we see a computer-generated image of a black hole, which might, ultimately, be explained by ideas like string theory. Alain Riazuelo/IAP/UPMC/CNRS hide caption

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Alain Riazuelo/IAP/UPMC/CNRS