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ToSeek
2006-Feb-15, 07:32 PM
Interesting commentary:

Terrestrial Planet Finder: The Most Important Space Mission NASA Should not Fund (http://www.anthonares.net/2006/02/terrestrial-planet-finder-the-most-important-space-mission-nasa-should-not-fund.html)


The TPF missions are far too important to be delayed indefinitely, indeed they are far too important scientifically to be funded through NASA. Large ground-based observatories are funded through consortia of universities, governments, and private groups, and so too should the TPF missions. Funding, building, and operating the TPF missions outside of NASA would provide the scientific community greater insulation against the budgetary whims of the federal government and against the degenerating mission creep that is gradually undermining every NASA endeavor.

Launch window
2006-Feb-16, 12:23 AM
NASA seeks partners as budgets tighten
In the 2007 budget request, Prometheus received just $9.4 million – a decrease of 88% from the previous year. NASA said the cuts were necessary to fund the shuttle replacement, the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) due by 2014.
www.newscientistspace.com/article.ns?id=dn8699
Logsdon is now in the process of travelling to Europe, Russia, Japan and Canada, on NASA's behalf, to assess which countries are interested in collaborating on such projects.
Partnerships are a good strategy, agrees Howard McCurdy, a space policy analyst at American University in Washington, DC: "NASA can't afford to go it alone."
But McCurdy adds the near-elimination of the Prometheus programme signals a sharper focus by NASA on simply retiring the shuttle and building the CEV, and less focus on longer-term goals. These include sending humans to Mars and developing space telescopes to search for terrestrial planets around other stars. "I don't know if that's a wise strategy," McCurdy told New Scientist....

However the TPF isn't gone even if NASA pull back, there still ESA's Darwin which will most likely be an international endeavour. Collaboration
has already begun with NASA’s equivalent Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) team and a Letter of agreement has already been signed between ESA and NASA for 2003-2006. The NASA-TPF Science working group and the ESA Terrestrial Exoplanets Science advisory team are mandated to define and agree on a common set of detailed scientific objectives by
2006.
Darwin is a flotilla of 4 craft that will search for Earth-like planets and analyse their atmospheres for the signature of life.
http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMZ0E1A6BD_index_0.html
Here is the PDF file
http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/doc.cfm?fobjectid=35808

Doodler
2006-Feb-20, 03:03 PM
There's a certain logic there. Universities fund the construction of telescopes as a matter of course, on the ground. I don't see why it would be such a stretch of the imagination to see them fund the construction of a space based observatory.