[caption id="attachment_10922" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Credit: Northrop Grumman"][/caption] Setup begins this week on a full-size scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope at the Maryland Science Center in the Inner Harbor. The model is approximately 80 feet long, 40 feet wide, and 40 feet tall, and weighs approximately 12,000 pounds. It was built by Northrop Grumman, one of the prime contractors on the real-life James Webb, set to be the successor to the famous Hubble Space Telescope. The model's goal has always been outreach and awareness, but it takes on new life as the financial future of the project is debated. In July the House Appropriations Subcommittee announced a bill that would cut its funding entirely; the Senate responded with one that would not only keep the telescope but also increase the funding over what the Obama administration had requested. Voting is expected to happen within the next few weeks. The model arrives in Baltimore after a long series of travels. According to a Northrop spokesperson, it's hit stops at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.; New York City's Battery Park; Seattle; Dublin; Montreal; Munich; Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.; Orlando; Paris; Rochester, N.Y.; and Colorado Springs. This is quite the feat: It requires two trucks to ship it and an assembly crew of 12 approximately four days to set up and two days to dismantle. Its next visit is planned for the Hayden Planetarium in New York in spring 2012. It comes to Baltimore as part of the Association of Science-Technology Centers' annual conference, to which the Baltimore Convention Center is playing host. Its stay here includes a variety of appropriately spacey activities, including a Meet the Astronaut event at 5 p.m., a panel discussion called "The People Behind JWST" at 6 p.m., and stargazing with local astronomy clubs at 7 p.m. on Oct 14; an outdoor presentation called "Telescopes as Time Machines" by the folks at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) at 1 p.m. and a Northrop presentation titled "The Science and Engineering of JWST" (time TBA) on Oct. 16; and an education tent and Ask the Scientist booth open 8:30-11 a.m. Oct. 14 and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 15-18. The Maryland Science Center is located at 601 Light St.; for more information visit its web site or call (410) 685-2370.

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