James Webb Space Telescope and space

Two days ago I went to South by Southwest (SXSW) and saw the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). It was only a model but while I was there I learned lots about outer space.

When I first arrived there I was going around looking for something to take notes of. I had a whole stack of colored pencils just in case I needed to draw something, three regular pencils, and a notepad that was supposed to be for summer break. Of course I actually used it as my notepad for this post. I was wearing my one and only labcoat!

Peo at the JWST

Well we’re here at the JWST!

While Mum was talking to Fraser Cain, after she finished talking he told me a little bit about Panspermia. The definition of Panspermia is that rocks from Earth get spouted into the air and land on Mars. This could happen when a big, big asteroid hits Earth! That means life on Mars could come from Earth. The rocks carry bacteria from Earth.

It’s helping me research for my paleo-exo-biologist job. Paleo-exo-biologist means a person who looks for prehistoric life on other planets. And I’m going to probably be the first one alongside two of my friends. One friend will take notes, the other will keep the rocket in shape, and I will dig up the prehistoric life! Because prehistoric dead life is awesome! Dinosaurs in space are better than anything else!

As said above, the life on Mars could come from Earth if there is life on Mars. So thank you Fraser Cain for helping me with my research!

Next I took a few pictures of all of the views of a small model of the JWST.

Small Model 1

This is the front view of a small model of the JWST.

Peo takes a photo

This a photo taken by Mum of me taking a photo! That’s so funnee (funny the way Fozzie bear says it)!

Next I wrote this in my notes about ISIM: “ISIM supports four Webb instruments and electronics.” I wrote only this down.

Peo taking notes

This is a picture of me taking notes (Mum took it).

We just did some research on ISIM because we didn’t really know what it was. We found a website about it and learned that it’s the Integrated Science Instrument Module. I just learned what module means: it’s like a piece of something that finds its way into something else. For example, in the Lego version of Fluffy McSharkah Khan the eyes and teeth are a module of the whole thing.

We saw a video about the ISM which basically showed that it’s JWST’s brain:

The ISIM has some infrared sensors because the JWST uses infrared to see space. They had an infrared camera and I got to test it out. Of course the thing they used for cold was uncomfortably cold! It was water with ice in it so you expect that, right?

Infra red screen

Brr! That water that made my hand purple on the infra red screen was uncomfortably cold!

In my notes I wrote, “I did an experiment with a heat sensor . The results are heat is white and cold is purple.”

Also inside the tent was an iPad thingy with lots of space information. It was a NASA iPad app. I tell you it was A-W-E-S-O-M-E awesome! I got most of my notes on there. The first thing I did was learn a little bit about one of Mars’ craters mapped by Curiosity which is actually a rover, not a crater! The crater is 96 miles in diameter. That means it could have water. It is three times the height of the Grand Canyon. It has a mountain inside. I wrote all that in my notes completely completely completely!

Peo taking notes at iPad 1

This it the first time I went to the iPad and just sat and took notes.

Later I came and took more notes. And this is a lot of notes. You’re going to see how many!

  • The solar cycle damages satellites and shuts down power.
  • Greenhouse gases can cause ice to melt.
  • Solar flares are a threat to satellites.
  • Some exoplanets are KOI-961, Kelper-1ob, and KOI-961b.
  • The things you need for life are carbon, atmosphere, magnetic fields, energy, and water.
  • The things used for preserving life are ice, minerals, and atmosphere and gases.
  • Evidence that there’s life on Mars is there was water in the past of Mars, there is water on Mars now, Mars has an atmosphere, Mars has magnetic fields, Mars has inorganic and organic compounds, and Mars has energy.

I don’t really understand what inorganic and organic compounds are. I hope somebody comes and tells me about that. If you are a scientist and you do know about that come and tell me about it please!

Peo taking notes 2

I was too concentrated to hear my Mum and the NASA people talking while I took these notes. I even got interviewed for a different blog and I was only mumbling because I was too concentrated!

Then we went back outside to the big model and took a video all the way around. It’ll be coming later in a different post. And also we made some measurements. I mean, we made only one because we weren’t really allowed to go that close to the JWST model. We measured the overhanging low frame:

JWST Frame

This was overhanging the barrier so we decided to measure how far off the ground it is.

I did some tricky math for the measurements. The holder part of the measuring tape is 2 3/4″. The holder basically was not only used for holding the measuring tape but also says how high it is! So whenever you measure, it’s plus that! The measuring tape said 79″. So we have to add 79″ plus 2 3/4″ and that equals 81 3/4″. So the the lowest part of JWST that we could reach by the barrier is 81 in. and three quarters from the ground.

Measuring the frame

I was making my only measurement in this photo.

I met some other people too. Like Scott Lewis. He made a good joke about Highlights Magazine. He’s my Mum’s friend and he’s the one who told us about this whole thing. When we got home we saw a picture of him kissing a chicken! It was a rubber chicken in a NASA suit. We didn’t get to meet the chicken but I hope we do sometime! Just because it’s funny! It’s awesome!

Some nice NASA people gave me a comic, a poster, a fortune teller, and a pin and some stickers. Thanks! Also, a I got a pin that nobody else got! I really amazed them by all my note taking so one of them gave me an extra pin. It instead has the NASA logo instead of just the JWST pin. Thanks!

I’m bringing extras of some stuff to my class. I really hope my classmates enjoy it, especially the comic. Here I am reading it:

Peo reading JWST comic

The comic was about the infrared light JWST uses. That comic was pretty good. In the Did You Know About the JWST parts, I wish there was more parts about the parts!

It was wonderful, I tell you, wonderful!

Peo’s Question From This Post

What does “inorganic compounds and organic compounds” mean?


  1. Hi Peo,

    Organic compounds are molecules that contain carbon. Inorganic compounds are everything else. (There are actually a few exceptions: some simple molecules with carbon, such as carbon dioxide, as well as pure carbon, are considered inorganic.) The reason that the carbon compounds have their own name is that carbon can form so many different kinds of molecule; it’s the most versatile of all the atoms in the ways it can join up with other atoms. In fact, more than half of all known compounds are organic! And this group is called “organic” because almost all of the stuff that builds up life is in this category — DNA, proteins, amino acids, all of that.

    There are also mixed compounds; for example, one of my friends is a professor who specializes in “organometallic chemistry,” which is the chemistry of organic compounds that also include metal atoms. Those turn out to be powerful catalysts: things which help other chemical reactions move very quickly, even though they aren’t part of the reaction themselves.

  2. dad says:

    Hi Peo,

    another cool thing about organic molecules is that the carbon atoms can link up to form long chains of the same pattern of atoms over and over. They are called “polymers,” and your uncle Romily knows lots and lots about those. Maybe next time he visits us you could interview him for your blog.

  3. Damian says:

    Hi Peo! I think you’d be interested to know that not only is Carbon one of the most versatiles atoms known to man, but it can create some super strong materials when properly combined with other atoms?

    The lead in your pencil and a diamond are made of the same material-pure carbon! The only difference is that a diamond is essentially a chunk of pencil lead that has been put through tons of pressure and heat for long periods of time. (Sadly, we can’t make diamonds at home with pencil lead, a vice, and an oven. I tried already!) Diamonds also happen to be one of the strongest materials known…nothing can scratch a diamond except another diamond! (Now don’t go getting mom’s diamond jewelry and start scratching up stuff…unless she gives you permission to do so! πŸ™‚ )

    Organic chemistry, which is the science of organic (carbon) compounds, is lots of fun! When you get to high school, I strongly suggest you take Organic Chemistry if it is offered. I took Organic Chemistry in high school and college and had a blast making stuff up in the lab!!!

  4. Maau says:

    It sounds like a very fun experience, and I’m jealous (in a good way)! I look forward to reading your future adventures!

  5. Mike D. says:

    You know… if a rock could leave Earth and carry life to Mars… couldn’t it go the other way, too? Not now, of course; no life on Mars. But millions of years ago, when Mars had water and maybe more air? Or Venus before it got too hot?

    There might be some paleoexobiology right here on Earth, if we can just find some uncontaminated by Earth’s life forms…

    P.S. Hot, not heat, is white. Heat and temperature are different things: heat is energy that changes something’s temperature. So when you get something hot and put it next to something cold, the hot thing gets cooler and the cool thing gets hotter. How fast this happens depends on what’s in between; with metals like copper, it’s fast, but with ceramics like brick, it can be really slow.

    There are a lot of “magic” tricks that work because of that. For example, some people can light a dollar bill “on fire” without burning it. By dipping it in a mixture of water and alcohol (I forget which type) and lighting it with a lighter, it will “burn” for a few seconds.

    Since a dollar bill is made of paper that doesn’t easily soak up liquids, the water and alcohol stay on the surface. The alcohol burns, giving the flame, but the water absorbs most of the heat by boiling off, keeping the paper from getting hot enough to burn.

    Don’t try it yourself without your folks helping out. It’s tough to get the right ratio of water and alcohol, and I think you have to use ethyl alcohol because isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol burns nearly invisible, which makes it really dangerous. (Some race cars use that kind of alcohol for fuel, and the race track firemen have to use thermal cameras to see the fire when there’s a crash!)

  6. Mickey Blake says:

    Hi Peo! Congrats on your new blog! I’m sure you’ll learn SO much through it, as your mom knows lots and lots of cool people.

    Other commenters beat me to explaining the difference between organic and inorganic compounds, which totally bummed me out, but then I remembered something interesting that I could add.

    I majored in chemistry in college. When I took organic chemistry, it lasted a whole year, despite there being just carbon compounds, because there are so many types of carbon compounds and they do so many different things. Despite the fact that it covers the WHOLE REST of the periodic table , inorganic chemistry ALSO lasted a year. I later took half a year of organometallic chemistry, which is the area Yonatan mentioned above.

    Chemistry is an awesome field, which I used to teach. If you want to know more, I’d be happy to do a hangout with you and your mom some time. I was thinking you’d find phase diagrams really cool, but your mom said they were beyond what she knows in chemistry, so if you’re interested, I’d love to teach you about them. I think they’re really awesome!

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