One of NASA’s top scientists finally shaved his “James Webb Beard” yesterday to celebrate the James Webb Space Telescope’s successful deployment. Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, showed off his newly-shaven face on Twitter, posting the photo while wearing a NASA ball cap.
“Yeah — the @NASAWebb is fully deployed,” Zurbuchen said. “Thanks to the entire team for their hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. #UnfoldTheUniverse Finally, I shaved off my #JWSTbeard. I so looked forward to this!”
In a pre-shave shot he shared in a reply, also shown above, Zurbuchen sported brown stubble during a previous interview.
The JWST launch has been pretty stressful for both the scientists involved and those watching from afar. One physics professor told the New York Times he’d be terrified the entire time he was watching the launch, scared something might go wrong. That makes perfect sense, given that the Webb is the largest, most powerful and most complex space telescope ever built and has experienced a long serious of frustrating delays.
Earlier this month, Zurbuchen tweeted about the stressful project and mentioned his grown-out facial hair.
“I know everyone is handing that history making (and somewhat nerve straining) unfolding of @NASAWebb in their own way,” he said. “Me? — I have been growing a ‘JWST beard.’ I will be happy and excited to shave it when the observatory is fully deployed… #UnfoldTheUniverse”
Will Zurbuchen branch out to a handlebar mustache for his next project? How about Elvis side burns? We don’t know what the future brings for his personal grooming, but for now, the Webb team all deserve a good night’s sleep and a pat on the back.
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