Robert Smith is a professor at the University of Alberta and historian to JWST since 2002

James Webb: An optical success story

As James Webb Space Telescope beams back images from the edge of space and time, space historian Robert Smith recalls some of the decisions made to bring the $10bn NASA project to fruition. David Stuart reports

Berhanu Bulcha

Laser communications often take the lion’s share of attention when it comes to the use of photonics in space, but lasers will also play a vital role locating resources on the Moon and other objects in the solar system, according to NASA’s Berhanu Bulcha.  

The next big thing in my area is developing an integrated photonics device-based THz spectrometer. NASA has a great interest in developing sensitive and small SWaP (size, weight and power) instruments for space missions,’ he said.

The dividend of the spectrum

Imaging spectroscopy offers a powerful way to understand this world and others, and optical innovations are enhancing its capabilities, finds Andy Extance

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