Tuesday, Oct 17 2017 | Updated at 04:32 PM EDT

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Feb 06, 2017 08:39 AM EST

James Webb Space Telescope: Full-Scale Model At Super Bowl LI; Who Gets First Telescope Time [Video]

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This is what it's like to spend eight months on Mars

Northrop Grumman, leading the industry team building NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, showed off a full-scale model of the James Webb Space telescope during the Super Bowl live festival in Houston.

To celebrate the Super Bowl LI, NASA employees and affiliates virtually tossed a football from space to various locations across the United Space, as well as NASA's journey to Mars. NASA also tested how a football stands up to a space telescope's intense testing regimen. Turns out, the football passed spinning in a centrifuge and shaking but failed and shattered at cryogenic temperatures, reported Space.com.

The James Webb Space Telescope is about 70 feet long and 70 feet wide, and the telescope is reportedly now complete after more than 20 years in construction. The next phase is t subject the telescope in a series of pre-launch tests at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled for launch in October 2018, this early; scientists are reportedly vying for first dibs on using the new space telescope. According to Seeker, choice projects will vie for the first round known as the Guaranteed-Time-Observer or GTO program. The call was made by NASA on Jan. 6 for proposal submissions for the GTO. Accordingly, a second telescope booking opportunity is also available known as the Director's Discretionary Early Release Science Program.

James Webb Space Telescope leaves no room for error

The Hubble space telescope was almost useless upon its launch and had to undergo almost three years of repairs to get its optics working right. Deformities in its glass led to repair visits from astronauts causing major headaches for administrators on the ground. Repairs were done in low orbit before it sent back stunning visuals.

For the James Webb Space Telescope, there will be no such repair missions. The placement of the telescope will be 1.5 million kilometers above Earth, past the orbit of the moon, which means no astronaut would be able to immidiately reach it. It cannot afford to have failures as Hubble had when it was initially launched. The pressure is on at Goddard and its contractors to get it all right the first and only time.

Observation using the James Webb Space Telescope is expected to commence on April 2019.

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