Microbial life is life. Although it's a big step from that to complex life.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will be focused on Europa and Enceladus, the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, in efforts to uncover the secrets of how life began in the Solar System. Europa and Enceladus have captivated scientists with rising plumes of water cracking beneath their icy surfaces. The moons have been described as “ …
> "Microbial life is life. Although it's a big step from that to complex life."
True, but the really complex step is from nothing to a functioning, replicating cell. The number of things going on in the simplest living cell is mind blowing. Every improvement after that is largely incremental (altho pretty cool I'll admit).
I guess you read it slightly wrong. The way I see it microbial life was not posed as an as alternative to life but as as an alternative to "natural geologic processes." (I also oppose the word "natural" here as there's nothing unnatural about life either, microbial or otherwise.)
So the options are: microbial life or geologic processes.
In addition to what has already been said, it si worth noting that Hubble's lifespan has been artificially extended beyond what would make sense from a purely economic point of view - a major factor in the cost-benefit analysis preceding the servicing missions was its value as a "brand" that is instantly recognizable to most people and thus very valuable for public outreach (which has always been a challenge for space programs).
Although I'm sure that the JWST will be used to make observations of many objects in our solar system I rather suspect that it will spend the majority of its time observing very distant objects where, due to their red-shift, a lot of the info in which we're interested will have been shifted down to the IR.
I for one welcome our plumes of spacefaring microbial overlords.
Why is JWSpaaaaceT being launched from French Guiana? I suppose it has to do with it being close to the equator and better alignment to L2. Well, whatever the case may be, I hope the launch goes well. It would suck mightily if that thing were to land up in the ocean or somewhere in a LEO after all the years of hype and $-billions having gone into its development.
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