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Head-and-shoulders portrait of STScI’s Interim Director Nancy Levenson, a white woman with short brown hair and blue eyes, who is smiling at the camera. She is dressed in a formal black jacket and scoop neck top. The background is a portion of Webb’s composite image of the Pillars of Creation, a region of gas and dust. A peak appears at left and gray areas stretch from center toward the top right. The background has several bright yellow-and-green stars with Webb’s signature eight-point diffraction spikes to the top left, near her eyes, and at bottom right, near her shoulder.

Dr. Nancy Levenson marks the beginning of Webb’s operations, Hubble’s ongoing discoveries, Roman’s milestones, and underlines how our staff continues to support the astronomical community.

About This Article

The Space Telescope Science Institute had an extraordinary year in 2022. An absolute highlight was sharing the first science from the James Webb Space Telescope with the world. The images are gorgeous! The efforts behind these results required all disciplines across STScI, over an extended period of preparation. Scientific input ensured that we showed a wide range of objects and telescope capabilities. Engineering and operations enabled execution of the observations, and outreach experts provided skill in design and writing to reach and include a broad audience. More than pretty pictures, Webb’s data are valuable sources of discovery, which the international astronomy community is already actively analyzing.

At our core, we have long been multi-mission. Hubble continues to offer unique ways to explore the universe, complementing Webb’s new offerings. In our own solar system, Hubble and Webb observed some unexpected effects of running into an asteroid. On scales of our own and nearby galaxies, Hubble has released more of the comprehensive library that reveals the lives of young stars, known as ULLYSES. Even the distant universe is not quiet, showing cosmic explosions that Hubble captured.

Now close on the horizon, the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will provide panoramic views with the same exquisite detail as Hubble. The large data volume requires new techniques for processing and storage. STScI will also work with the scientific community to make the most of these observations, which will use different approaches to data exploration and discovery. Our Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes will be the entry point, and already some of these new tools are available for working with existing data sets. Data-driven astronomy offers an exciting opportunity to learn fully from the observations we make, and STScI will continue to develop capabilities that scientists can use across the holdings in MAST and elsewhere.

We remain ambitious, looking even further into the future to the next flagship astrophysics mission. We aim to build on the experience and knowledge from Hubble and Webb to realize the Habitable Worlds Observatory. This large space telescope will carry advanced instruments and could be able to detect signatures of life on planets in our Milky Way galaxy, while also pushing boundaries to answer significant questions over the full range of astrophysics. STScI is engaging the community to refine the specific scientific needs, directly developing some of the technology required, and using the engineering and technical expertise of operating Hubble and Webb to make it possible.

The world of discovery that STScI’s missions enable ultimately relies on our people. I am proud of what we have accomplished together in 2022, and I look forward to another great year!