“The largest space observatory in history will have an ultra-cool camera on board: the MIRI instrument.” This wrote NASA recently on the Twitter account of his own Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Let us leave it to the Americans to draw attention to their scientific projects and to inform the general public about them in an attractive way. However, it would have been close if the mid-infrared instrument with this extremely cooled camera hadn’t paid off.
James Webb has become a very expensive project. It was once budgeted on a billion dollar budget, but will ultimately cost ten times as much. Logically, questions arise about the costs: does it have to be so expensive and so complex? Does James Webb really need these four science instruments, namely near infrared camera, near infrared spectrograph, mid infrared instrument and fine guide sensor / near infrared imager and slitless spectrograph? Years ago, the United States mainly focused on MIRI. A beautiful instrument, but is it really more than “nice to have”? Ultimately, the MIRI instrument simply became part of the James Webb Telescope.