Space Quote: Google’s Expensive Mistake Regarding the JWST

Image (Credit): Actual image of the exoplanet 2M1207b (red) around its star 2M1207A. (European Southern Observatory)

“What new discoveries from the James Webb space telescope (JWST) can I tell my nine-year old about?”

-The one question put to Google’s Bard AI program, which was designed to rival Microsoft’s ChatGPT. In response, Bard stated the JWST took the very first pictures of an exoplanet, which was incorrect. The first image of an exoplanet can be seen above, taken by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope back in 2004. The exoplanet, called 2M1207 b, is a gas giant about five times the mass of Jupiter. Following the erroneous feedback, the stock of Google’s parent Alphabet dropped about $100 billion in value. Below is an image from another exoplanet spotted by the JWST last year, called HIP 65426 b, which is about six to eight times the mass of Jupiter.

Image (Credit): First direct image of an exoplanet by the JWST. The exoplanet, called HIP 65426 b, is about 6 to 8 times the mass of Jupiter and only 15 to 20 million years old. The Earth is about 4.5-billion-year-old Earth. (NASA/ESA/CSA, A Carter (UCSC), the ERS 1386 team, and A. Pagan (STScI))