The scientists who built the Webb telescope will take the music of their band Outta Scope into space

After 25 years of development and several delays, the James Webb Space Telescope will finally launch on December 25. The collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency promises to be one of the most important scientific milestones of this century. But what we didn’t know is that the NASA team members who work with Webb are connected by more than just work on their telescope: music.

The band called «Outta Scope (Out of reach) »Is made up of several members of the NASA team that have been developing the Webb telescope since 1996. Directed by Lee Feinberg, the keyboardist and elements manager engineer for the Webb Optical Telescope at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

A band of NASA scientists

In addition to working on the Webb project, Feinberg did so on its predecessor, the Space Telescope. Hubble and in other similar projects such as the Roman Space Telescope and the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA). As an asset manager for Webb, the fellow Outta Scope keyboardist has worked to perfectly align the telescope. An important job. The observatory’s primary mirror has 18 different segments that need to be perfectly aligned to target your different planned targets for crystal-clear imagery.

But “Outta Scope” is unique in that it is truly a space band. Members of the band have fluctuated over the years as Webb has continued to bear fruit, but all members have the shared connection from outer space.

Another leading member of the Outta Scope band is John McCloskey, a senior electrical noise engineer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center who has worked at Webb and plays both guitar and trumpet.

Additionally, the band played at Webb’s team parties prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

20 Years of Outta Scope and 25 of the Webb Telescope

Although it may come as a surprise to some, the Outta Scope gang has been together for twenty years, five less than the Webb telescope has been in development. “I think there is a lot of similarity between the creative process that you do when you play music and the creative process in engineering,” Feinberg said.

Lee Feinberg, Elements Director for Webb’s Optical Telescope, Who Is Also a Musician | NASA / Chris Gunn

The opinion of these engineers is that “music has a mathematical side.” And it is what they assure has made them last so long in both projects. According to the leader of the band Outta Scope, “there is a special connection between science and music.” One such example is the Webb’s striking golden hexagonal mirror, which inspired several works of art.

“The creation of all these incredible works of art implies that there is a really interesting overlap. I think some of the scientific questions that Webb will ask about how the universe got here and where is it going and is there life? They also inspire artists, ”added Feinberg.

From that concept, NASA organized a program that invites the public to create art inspired by the telescope. Adults and children around the world have presented their own works of art, be it paintings, drawings or even sculptures, inspired by the Webb telescope.

Webb Telescope Launch Will Be Dec. 25

The James Webb will be the largest and most powerful telescope ever launched into space. It is considered the next great space science observatory after Hubble, specifically designed to answer the most relevant questions about the Universe. As well as to make the most avant-garde discoveries in all fields of astronomy.

On December 25, Webb is scheduled to take off from ESA’s European spaceport in French Guiana. Its long journey will be towards the point of Lagrange2, located about 1,500 kilometers from Earth. This is one of the five points in which the gravities of the Sun and our planet balance.

Halfway through, with approximately 15 days remaining to the destination, the Webb telescope is expected to deploy the mirror system and drop the hood, antenna, and instruments it is equipped with – a job that takes hundreds of years. delicate operations that could jeopardize the entire mission.

More than 1,000 people in more than 17 countries have worked on the development of the James Webb Space Telescope. In the photo, team members in front of the JWST large-scale model at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland | POT

Next, listen to part of Outta Scope’s album “Time Machine,” featuring songs written by band members, including Feinberg and McCloskey on

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The scientists who built the Webb telescope will take the music of their band Outta Scope into space