A full scale model of the soon to be deployed James Webb Telescope was on display for the South by Southwest Interactive conference.
The telescope is set to be launched in 2018 and will be the successor to the Hubble Telescope. The new telescope will be able to observe in infrared. This will give it the ability to examine much older stars and galaxies.
Just last month an asteroid missed Earth by 17,000 miles and a meteor crashed into Russia. Some believe a telescope like the James Webb could help detect those types of objects.
Congressman Lamar Smith visited Austin this weekend and talked about the search for objects that could hit the Earth. He is the Science, Space, and Technology Committee chairman.
"There are thousands of objects out there coming our direction and frankly and object just 50 yards across can wipe out an entire city," Smith said. "So we don't want to wait for that to happen and we have to detect these objects far enough in advance, a couple of years in order to do something about their flight trajectory."