These are independent reviews of the products mentioned, but TIME receives a commission when purchases are made through affiliate links at no additional cost to the purchaser.

The greatest cosmic observatory ever invented—originally known as the Next Generation Space Telescope—was first proposed in 1995 and was supposed to launch in 2007 at a cost of $500 million. Things didn’t quite work out that way. It was not until Christmas Day 2021 that the re-christened James Webb Space Telescope—named after a former NASA administrator—was launched, at a cost of a cool $10 billion. But the time and money have been worth it—with designers delivering on a promise to build a telescope able to look farther into space than any ever built before. Webb’s uniquely powerful infrared camera can peer into the universe’s infancy and has already returned a dazzling array of images, including a planet orbiting another star. The telescope, President Joe Biden said in July, after initial images were revealed, offers a “new window into the history of our universe.”

More Must-Reads From TIME

Write to Jeffrey Kluger at

Augmented Job Training
Next-Level EV
Flash-Frozen Coffee to Go
Athletic Apparel for the Smartwatch Era
Meditate in the Metaverse