It's a daring quest!
NASA launched its largest and most powerful telescope on Christmas Day morning.
The James Webb Space Telescope set off from French Guiana on South America's northeastern coast and is attached to the European rocket Ariane.
Its quest is to find light from the first stars and galaxies while scouring the universe for signs of life, according to NASA.
The telescope cost $10 billion to create and hurtles toward its destination, which is an incredible 1 million miles away (or four times beyond the distance of the moon.)
Milestone achieved. @NASAWebb is safely in space, powered on, and communicating with ground controllers.\n\nThe space telescope is now on its way to #UnfoldTheUniverse at its final destination one million miles (1.5 million km) away from Earth.pic.twitter.com/gqICd0Xojz— NASA (@NASA) 1640436968
It will take around one month to reach its destination and then another five months before it is ready to start scanning its surroundings using its infrared eyes.
"The James Webb Space Telescope represents the ambition that NASA and our partners maintain to propel us forward into the future," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. "The promise of Webb is not what we know we will discover; it’s what we don’t yet understand or can’t yet fathom about our universe. I can’t wait to see what it uncovers!"
A NASA tweet said the Webb telescope will soon begin "an approximately two-week process to deploy its antennas, mirrors, and sunshield."
The Christmas Day launch was held with a small number of spectators due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Spectators included local dignitaries and workers who helped build the telescope.