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The Total Cost of the James Webb Telescope Is Out of This World
NASA has always walked a fine line when it comes to its budgets, as the space agency has had to sell its missions not only to Congress and the administration, but also to the American public. In 2021, NASA had asked for $25.2 billion in funding, but was awarded less at $23.3 billion, a figure that accounts for 0.32% of the money spent by the U.S. government.
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is one of the most epic NASA missions, but the exploration of the universe doesn't come cheap. According to The Planetary Society, JWST required more than 24 years to build and launch while ultimately costing $9.7 billion; however, once inflation kicks in, the total cost could be an astronomical $10.8 billion.
NASA argues that the cost was worth it and that for every dollar spent in space, thousands of jobs are created, businesses are jumpstarted, and the national economy grows. From a scientific point of view, the contributions that the James Webb Space Telescope will generate are countless, including the study of exoplanets and the search for extraterrestrial life.