|Webb Telescope successful in deploying first of five sun shields.|
Posted by: LateForLunch ® |
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The media is reveling in the first - general public interest will likely fade after the second, third and so on. Many (most) have little interest in science, astronomy or astrophysics. This even though direct relatives of all of those fields have given Humanity the most potent technology we possess. It wasn't until physicists (like Einstein) figured out that matter could be converted to energy and vice-versa (the theory of General Relativity) that thermonuclear energy / weapons became possible.
Physicists found out the truth and governments/companies acted on that by creating nuclear piles, reactors and explosives based upon it.
One of the fascinating things about this telescope is that some of the most critically-important events in the creation of the universe occurred prior to the furthest back in time we can currently see. This scope will open the window to the very brink of Creation allowing physicists to gather data on things like gravity, dark matter, the Cosmic Constant, the primal scalar field, the strong atomic force, the cosmic background radiation, light, super-symmetry, the Higgs force, and others.
Paramount in one sense is the information about gravity, the one remaining elementary force which has not been understood at a quantum level (there is no "gravity particle"). This is significant because understanding the quantum unit of strong atomic force (gluons) gave us nuclear energy. The quantum unit of the electromagnetic force (light/photons) gave us lasers*, x-ray technology, microwave communications, radar.
In every case, learning to collect, focus, reflect, divert, control elementary forces through technology has resulted in oceanic leaps forward in culture, warfare, weaponry and manufacturing.
If the elementary particle of gravity were understood and could be " collected, reflected, diverted and controlled" the consequences for science are unimaginable. The technology imagines in the children's cartoon series Jetsons and popular SF series Star Trek would be child's play in many regards.
Just for example, if one could shield an object from the force of gravity, it could theoretically accelerate to infinite velocity. That's because if you remove gravity from General Relativity, objects would not acquire mass as they accelerated and could theoretically travel at a million times the speed of light.
Reflected/neutralizing gravity would make it possible to levitate objects of any weight or size in a gravity well.
The potential for weaponry is terrifying - disintegration weapons, devices that could cause stars to explode, tractor beams which could reposition asteroids onto collision course with Terra.
All theoretically possible if gravity is not a significant factor.
Astrophysics gives information about gravity and if Webb is successful, it may give theorists more data about gravity to work within a few years than we have had from observations of the last century.
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