NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope lifts off on historic quest

The world’s most powerful space telescope was rocketed off from Earth on Saturday, marking the beginning of a bold mission to scan the universe for its first stars and any signs of life in the cosmos.

At 7.20 a.m. Eastern Time (1220GMT), NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope was launched on a European Ariane rocket from French Guiana on the northeastern tip of South America.

In a tweet, NASA said the mission will herald “a new, exciting decade of science” that “will change our understanding of space as we know it.”

The $10 billion observatory is named after James Webb, who headed NASA during the early 1960s when the US was headed toward sending men to the moon for the first time.