The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a large aperture (6.5 meter), cryogenic space telescope with a suite of near and mid-infrared instruments covering the wavelength range of 0.6 µm to 28 µm. JWST’s primary science goal is to detect and characterize the first galaxies. It will also study the assembly of galaxies, stellar and planetary system formation, and the formation and evolution of planetary systems following the planned 2014 launch aboard Ariane 5 booster from Arianespace’s ELA-3 launch complex at the European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana.
Dr. Mark Clampin reviews the design of JWST, and discuss the current status of the project, with emphasis on recent technical progress in the construction of the observatory. He also review the capabilities of the observatory for observations of exosolar planets by means of transit photometry and spectroscopy, direct coronagraphic imaging, and high contrast imaging and spectroscopy. He will discuss the current predictions for the performance of the observatory, with special reference to the demands of exoplanet science observations in the one hour video at SETI.