Maryland officials highlight NASA’s latest efforts including new James Webb Telescope

MARYLAND – On Tuesday, Maryland officials highlighted the state’s role in supporting NASA’s efforts in space exploration as well as how NASA supports the state’s economy.

Of the many ties Maryland has to NASA, the Goddard Space Flight Center is in Prince George’s County. Maryland’s U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen says there are more than 33-hundred NASA civilian employees in the state and more than 35-thousand jobs across the state support NASA’s activities. Experts say one of the most exciting projects being worked on involves the James Webb Space Telescope which will be launched into orbit in 2021.

“We’re going to be able to see with the James Webb telescope, what we call cosmic dawn. After the Big Bang when the first light appeared, were going to be able to see what the universe looked like at that period of time,” says NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

One of the things the James Webb Telescope will help scientists do is characterize a lot of the planets that they’re finding around other stars. Based on information from that telescope, scientists will be able to get an idea about the atmospheres on the planets and whether they are habitable and even if there may be industrialization on one of those planets.

“Maryland is home to some of our nation’s finest science, technology, and space facilities. Today’s event gave us the opportunity to showcase Maryland’s essential role in furthering NASA’s mission and highlight the need for continued federal support of this crucial work. I thank Administrator Bridenstine for his leadership and, in my role on the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will keep fighting to invest in NASA’s missions in Maryland so that our state can continue to be at the forefront of advancing our understanding of the universe and our own planet Earth,” says Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies subcommittee.

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