Learning from the James Webb Telescope
Today (Dec 26 2021) the James Webb Telescope is traveling at over a mile per second to the second Legrange Point, where the Earth’s gravitational pull matches the Sun”s. It has over three quarters of a million miles to go and should reach its deployment destination in about six months.
The telescope will replace the Hubble Telescope and help us see further than humanity has ever seen before. It should be able to see planets in orbit around stars, detect water and, maybe, life. Looking that far means looking far back in time as the light emitted from these distant objects will have taken thirteen and a half billion years to reach the telescope.
And why do this? Because we can. This project shows how science can unite the world. Webb has over 1200 skilled scientists, engineers and technicians from 14 countries working on the project. It will be tracked by scientific stations across the globe.
Science is at the heart of sustainable development strategies. We can change our behavior but we also need new solutions to seemingly intractable problems. Webb demonstrates that scientific collaboration advances us as humanity and can solve very complex problems.
Collaboration, especially across cultures, is absolutely essential if we are to solve big and complex problems. Leading collaboration is a strategic management skill.