“Look into deep space. Say goodbye to the Hubble. Hello new pictures.”- A haiku inspired by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope by Wyatt Logan.
The James Webb Telescope, a miracle of engineering many times more powerful than the Hubble, is poised to take humanity further into the cosmos than we ever dreamed of going.
What will we find when James Webb travels a million miles from Earth?
It may be awhile before the first new pictures start drifting down to Earth. While the world waits, NASA has been challenging artists/scientists/space nerds everywhere to create art imagining what Webb might find.
Submissions are still pouring in from all over the world, “And the Countdown Begins.”
Students around the globe followed the progress of Webb, from its construction to its successful launch on Christmas Day 2021. Now, budding students of astronomy and space exploration are eagerly counting down the days until the first snaps arrive from deep space.
From artists imagining Webb’s pioneering journey into the cosmos to what Webb might find along the way, submissions to the contest have included models, musical pieces, poems, drawings, paintings, digital works, and art of all descriptions.
The James Webb Space Telescope is prepared to go further than any human eye has ever seen. Young artists from around the world were excited to show the scientists at NASA a world of imagination and wonder.
“The James Webb Space Telescope appears to ooze honey out of the cone at the center of its primary mirror,” says the artist, Ella Shartiel, of the above work. “A bee sits on top of the cone. Honey also covers the telescope’s sunshield structure, and two red apple slices stick out of the honey.”
“Flowers adorn the support structure for the telescope’s secondary mirror, and a dove perches on top of the structure as well, wearing a space helmet,” continues Shartiel. “A pomegranate planet is in the background. Blue banners above and below the telescope translate to ‘Sweet Year’ and ‘And A Successful Launch.’”
“Creation to Creation- Afterglow First Light Infrared,” was created by Jedidiah Dore to tell the story of the James Webb Space Telescope from inception to engineering and assembly to launch and beyond.
The above is the last panel of a composite piece.
Above, the artist with his work.
“This 3D layered collage, created in 2021, was inspired by the history of space exploration and the much longer history of the human imagination reaching up towards the distant stars and wondering what fantastical worlds and awe-inspiring visions are out there, whether or not we are alone, and how we can extend our sight far enough into the vast, mysterious darkness of time and space to find out,” says artist Anastasia Osolin of her Webb-inspired creation.
“What will the Webb reveal?” Osolin wondered before echoing the whole world: “I don’t know, but I can’t wait to see!”
Some artists chose to pose with their submissions. Others submitted from afar. Some of the works were especially intricate and imaginative.
Some of the artists who submitted works expect the Webb to find that the “Entire universe is only for us.”
Others expect to uncover many, “Strange New Worlds.”
Some artists created several works, using many different techniques and mediums.
Armchair space explorers of every age have been inspired by the Webb. Many classrooms around the world challenged students last year to describe what Webb might find in the universe.
Often, Webb has been used by teachers and educators to bring a little fun and wonder into a very challenging year for students, teachers and parents.
“Creative Jous was founded by Shimanie (Manie) Shareef in the midst of the pandemic in 2020,” NASA says of the above submission. “It began as an online class for kids ranging from 2 year olds, all the way to adults, and now has its own studio space. Manie taught the class about Webb, discussed what they thought the telescope will discover, and the students all created art!”
(All student art is shared with parental and school permission.)
The artist who created the above work- Grayson- is part of the Astronomy class at Sandia High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“Our students range from 09–12th grade. Students have been following the JWST since the start of the term and several got up early on 25 December 2021 to watch the launch. We have excitedly been watching JWST set up over these past days and weeks, including watching live streams from NASA during class. Many students are looking forward to careers in space science and can’t wait for data from JWST to begin flowing back to Earth,” says teacher Thomas Franich, who submitted the student art with parental permission.
Some of the artists may hope to someday get a closer view of whatever Webb uncovers. “Go Webb Go!”
Whatever Webb finds, the world’s next generation of space explorers have already seen in their mind’s eye worlds beyond worlds.
“Who knows what awaits? Lagrange L2 is not far. Webb will reveal all.” Haiku about the James Webb Telescope — IAmSpacePope (Twitter)
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)