President Joe Biden unveiled an image that NASA and astronomers hailed as the deepest view yet into our universe’s past during a brief event at the White House on Monday evening. The image, captured by the James Webb Space Telescope — the largest space telescope ever built — depicted a distant patch of sky where fledgling galaxies were burning their way into view 600 million years after the Big Bang.
Biden stated, “This is the earliest reported light in the universe’s history, extending back 13 billion, make that 13 billion years. The president, who apologized for the event’s late start, praised NASA for its work in enabling the telescope and the imagery it will generate.
According to Biden, “We see possibilities that no one has ever seen before.” “We have the ability to go places no one has gone before.”
Biden’s announcement served as a teaser for the Webb’s big cosmic slideshow, which will be revealed Tuesday morning when scientists reveal what the Webb has been looking at for the past six months.
The release of the images was also an opportunity for Biden to directly engage with an event that will almost certainly inspire wonder and pride among Americans — at a time when his approval ratings have plummeted as voters resent high food and gasoline prices and Democrats question his ability to fight for gun control and abortion rights.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were joined in the White House’s South Auditorium by Alondra Nelson, the acting director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Bill Nelson, the former Florida senator appointed by Biden as NASA administrator; and Jane Rigby, an operations project scientist for the Webb telescope.
Each sat at a small, widely spaced desk in front of a large screen, which displayed other NASA officials. The screen was replaced by a cosmic image flecked with tiny dots of galaxies, which drew applause from the far end of the room.
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