In 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched on its first mission outside Earth's orbit. In the years since, it has proven an invaluable tool to better understanding the nature of our universe. Its functions helped scientists at NASA determine the age of the universe, the existence of dark energy and the presence of multiple black holes throughout space. Not accustomed to resting on their laurels, these scientists had only one question following these game-changing findings: what's next? Into the Unknown depicts the construction of NASA's new James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most powerful instrument of its kind.
The new telescope has been a long time in the making, and doesn’t officially launch until 2021. After witnessing the intensive construction process, and learning the details and capabilities of the telescope's ambitious features, you can understand the delay. "If it works, it's going to see deeper into space than any other telescope in history," says one eager engineer early in the film. The team hopes that the new instrument allows them the ability to peer inside the earliest galaxies in the farthest reaches of our cosmos.
Cameras take us inside the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland where construction of the telescope is underway. It is here that billions of dollars of hardware will be put through the ultimate stress testing which will transcend the intensity of conditions in space. We're shown a series of lightweight mirrors which can capture pristine images in space when properly aligned.
The film assumes an endearing tone of wonder as it introduces us to several of the aerospace engineers and scientists who are deeply invested in the successful launching of the telescope. They are driven by a need to know the previously unknowable; mainly, where did we come from and are we alone in the universe? There may be so much we don't know, but each of them believes that these elusive answers are well within our reach.
Featuring stunning motion graphics and fascinating insider perspectives, Into the Unknown is an infectiously positive and hopeful tribute to the power and reach of humankind's ambitions.
Directed by: Nathaniel Kahn