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Old 07-14-2011, 01:53 PM   #1
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Please don't kill the James Webb Space Telescope

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2388502,00.asp

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The James Webb space telescope, the successor to Hubble, just came one step closer to being thrown in the trash bin over budget cuts. Yesterday the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology approved a plan to slash NASA's budget for next year and explicitly kill the project.
The House and Senate still need to vote on the measure before it becomes law, but it's not looking good for expensive Webb. The cost of developing the telescope has ballooned over the years as NASA has had to invent whole new technologies in order to make it work properly. Unlike the Hubble, the Webb will be much further from Earth in order to shield itself from infrared radiation, and its systems will need to function at extremely cold temperatures.
Adapting to those conditions has proved pricey for NASA. It's already spent $3 billion on the Webb, and the total cost is projected to be about $6.8 billion (it was initially budgeted at $1.6 billion total). However, once launched and put into place, the Webb will be so far from Earth that it will be impossible to service, so subsequent costs would involve only operating the telescope and analyzing its data (estimated at $1 billion over 10 years).
On Tuesday, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden made an appeal to the committee to save the Webb. "I have tried to explain what I think is the importance of James Webb, in terms of opening new horizons far greater than we got from Hubble," Discovery News reported Bolden as saying. "I would only say that for about the same cost as Hubble in real-year dollars, we'll bring James Webb into operation."
His words apparently had little effect. Neither did an attempt to restore partial funding of the Webb with a eleventh-hour amendment from Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California. The Republican-dominated committee shot down the measure with a voice vote, Nature reported.
As the Webb edges closer to oblivion, scientists have voiced concern over the termination of the project, saying that the discoveries it could reveal will be well worth the cost.
"The proposal... to terminate the James Webb Space Telescope would waste more taxpayer dollars than it saves," said the American Astronomical Society in a statement. "Such a proposal threatens American leadership in the fields of astrophysics and advanced space technology while likely eliminating hundreds, if not thousands, of high-tech jobs."
One of the engineers who worked on components for the Webb, Sarah Kendrew, wrote in a blog post for the Guardian, "For scientists, its loss will slow progress in understanding the physics that governs the universe at a time when huge advances are within our reach. Engineers, who have successfully completed many aspects of the observatory, will see more than a decade of work go to waste. The public will lose the opportunity to marvel once again at the amazing place that is our universe: the thousands of planets that populate our own galaxy, the places where new suns are born, the first galaxies at the dawn of time."

It's the anti-science conservatives!! Boooooooooooooo
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:26 AM   #2
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fuck, i was hoping they'd forget about the space budget when it came to cuts
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Old 09-01-2020, 10:54 AM   #3
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Re: Please don't kill the James Webb Space Telescope

According to the latest news, the telescope will be re-released in March 2021.
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