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NASA Webb Space Telescope Data Could Be Misinterpreted

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The Carina Nebula, as imaged by NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.

"We need to work on our interpretive tools," quantum astrochemist Clara Sousa-Silva said, "so that we don't find ourselves seeing something amazing through JWST but not knowing how to interpret it."

Credit: NASA

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientists warn of a possible disconnect between the power of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and current datasets.

"The data we will be getting from the JWST will be incredible, but ... our insights will be limited if our models don't match it in quality," said MIT's Clara Sousa-Silva.

New research suggests some of the light-decoding tools researchers employ to understand exoplanets cannot fully accommodate the JWST's spectral data, which could undermine the search for extraterrestrial life.

The researchers are calling for improvements to opacity models to enable them to handle the JWST's subtle measurements.

From CNN
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