How The James Webb Space Telescope Works – Smarter Every Day 262

I extensively appreciate Dr. John Mather’s time and patience with me. He did a splendid job of breaking down the design of the telescope.


NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

NASA’s Explore Light and compare visual to Infrared:

Many of the NASA 3D models were built by Goddard’s Visualization Studio

Also, I desired a cool James Webb Space Telescope shirt, so i commissioned an artist to create this design, which I LOVE.
Rainbow on Dark:
Rainbow on Light:
Yellow on Dark:
Yellow on Light:

If you REALLY loved it, feel free to pitch several bucks Smarter Every Day by becoming a Patron.

Warm Regards,



  1. @Spaghetti Monster Will do.

  2. Possibly the best smarter episode ever! Great subject matter, in an interview with an astoundingly smart man! His reasoning about being sure that he has nothing to worry about because they have planned and anticipated everything, so that there is nothing to worry about. At 75 I have reached a mindset much like his, and am happy to hear his outlook expressed so well. Thank you, Destin for what you do. I have tried to watch every video you have posted, and look forward to seeing more about the new telescope.

  3. @Mark Messer Good one sir. May you live to 100.

  4. The Nature of Nurture

    Your videos are amazing. Thank you.

    I wish you could have asked him about Feynman’s tired light hypothesis. I’ve never heard it deconstructed, just cast aside.

  5. So beautifully insightful.

  6. The mental image of some bodged up bunk jalopy satellite with motorcycles haphazardly strapped to the side as reaction wheels is the best thing I didn’t know I needed from this video.

  7. 17:35 that’s the biggest dewar I’ve ever seen.

  8. What an absolute Legend Dr. Mather is. Incredible knowledge and wisdom.

  9. they named a space flight center after the dog from jimmy neutron?

  10. Oh man im so exited

  11. Once can you do a video about batteries used in space? I am very curious how they solve the thermal issue an other challanges. Anyway this video is my second favourite from you after the ULA video ;)!

  12. Thank you for explaining the redshift. I just wonder how would the data look like? Do they measure the frequency?

  13. Destin, Your last comments reminded me of something that I think might be worth sharing. I have been dabbling into stoicism for a little while now. The idea of not worrying once you have done the best you can is similar to “amor fati” which means “love of fate” and the idea that you do not control situations (as much they are affected by factors outside your control), you control how you respond to them. I suppose they have done this project in accordance with “Murphy’s law” and planned something to avoid the conceivable difficulties, that is all they could do. Right? How to avoid inconceivable difficulties?

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