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Cornell astronomers await James Webb Space Telescope launch

Media Contact

Becka Bowyer

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope — the largest and most powerful space science observatory ever built — is fueled for its Dec. 22 launch. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

Cornell University scientists are playing key roles in the mission. As we approach launch day, the following are available for interviews:


Nikole Lewis

Assistant professor of astronomy and deputy director of the Carl Sagan Institute

Nikole Lewis is the principal investigator for one of the teams investigating the TRAPPIST-1 system — rocky, Earth-size worlds that orbit an ultra-cool star 41 light-years from Earth. She is an assistant professor of astronomy and the deputy director of the Carl Sagan Institute.

Ray Jayawardhana

Harold Tanner Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Ray Jayawardhana is part of a team that will dedicate 200 hours of time on the Webb telescope to characterize exoplanets. Jayawardhana is the Dean of Arts and Sciences and a professor of astronomy. 

Lisa Kaltenegger

Professor of Astronomy, Director of the Carl Sagan Institute

Lisa Kaltenegger is part of a team that will dedicate 200 hours of time on the Webb telescope to characterize exoplanets. Kaltenegger is an associate professor of astronomy and director of the Carl Sagan Institute.

Jonathan Lunine

Jonathan Lunine

Professor of the Physical Sciences

Jonathan Lunine is the interdisciplinary scientist for astrobiology on the Webb mission. His hours on the telescope will be mostly used to look at gas giant planets that are very close to their stars. Lunine worked for decades on the Saturn Cassini program. He is the David C. Duncan Professor in Physical Sciences, and chair of the astronomy department.

James Lloyd

Professor of Astronomy

James Lloyd helped develop an instrument for the telescope that will be used to image planetary systems and their environments. His research interests cover broadly extrasolar planets and the development of astronomical instrumentation. Lloyd is a professor of astronomy.

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.