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ToSeek
2004-Feb-12, 12:38 AM
From Jonathan's Space Report (http://www.planet4589.org/jsr.html), No. 520:



Cutting Space Science?
----------------------------------

Although the President's 2005 budget request to Congress includes an
overall small increase for NASA to pay for new human space exploration,
some aspects of space science and astronomy are under the axe. The
detailed status of the NASA space science budget remains unclear, but
the overall picture is not encouraging, with immediate cuts to some
programs and a forecast of a long term continuing (inflation-adjusted)
decrease for overall science to pay for the new human exploration
intiative.

The total extrasolar astronomy budget (Origins and SEU themes) has
remained stable this year, but there have been major reallocations with
no consultation with the science peer-review community. Although some
programs such as the JWST infrared telescope and the search for
extrasolar planets have managed to argue that they are part of
`exploration' and for now survive unscathed or even boosted (until the
real costs of the CEV program require further cuts) some of the most
scientifically successful parts of NASA, including the Explorer program
and the Structure/Evolution of the Universe theme (SEU) appear to be
facing a bleak long-term future.

Cuts are being made to the Explorer program previously extolled as a
flagship example of a federal program (recent Explorer missions included
WMAP, which determined the age of the Universe). MIDEX and SMEX
missions are to be delayed and cut back. (One colleague commented that
the idea that the Explorers don't do exploration was 'positively
Orwellian'). Money is also being taken from the budget of the
Constellation X mission, highly rated by the National Academy of
Sciences; the mission will be postponed for an unknown amount of time.
The Beyond Einstein probes, previously expected to start getting funding
this year, are to be indefinitely delayed.


Editorial (last one for a while I hope)
---------

While the Station program was over budget and slipping, and the Mars
probes were failing, missions like the Explorers and Chandra were a
bright spot for NASA. Now our hard work and success are to be rewarded
with significant cutbacks. Let me say it clearly: I support the idea of
an enhanced human exploration program, but I strongly oppose paying for
it at the cost of losing the successors to Chandra and WMAP, and the
chance of a partial replacement for Hubble (which JWST is not). I
believe there is strong public support for basic research, there are
clear technological and educational benefits to understanding the
extreme physics these missions study, and the US national interest would
be best served by protecting the relatively small amount of money in the
successful and productive program to study the deep universe, even at
the cost of slight stretchout of the ambitious exploration program. At
the very least, the space community should be aware that these decisions
are being made rather than passing over them in silence - it's such a
small part of the budget that analyses in magazines like AvWeek didn't
mention it.


If his analysis is correct, I have serious misgivings about this new approach.

slbuczkowski
2004-Feb-12, 02:59 PM
If his analysis is correct, I have serious misgivings about this new approach.

Jonathan's a pretty sharp guy, your misgivings would be well founded.

I too would love to see an expansion of physical exploration of space by humans, but I really see this plan as the peak of the slippery slope.

But, then, it's not like Congress has a history of funding large initiatives at the expense of smaller science only to decide later that the large initiative is too costly and cancel funding or plan the project's demise before it's even finished.

(and the SSC and space station don't come immediately to mind as examples of this......) :-?

Cougar
2004-Feb-13, 01:23 PM
I believe the best solution to this problem is to remove the Village Idiot--er, President Bush from office.

Betenoire
2004-Feb-13, 09:21 PM
Or, you know, have people pay taxes so there's actually enough money in the coffers.

Launch window
2006-Feb-13, 10:05 AM
Planetary society - Louis Friedman, Executive Director
http://www.planetary.org/special/executive_director/02102006.html
NASA 2007 Budget: Science Not Just Cut -- It Was Eviscerated

Griffin Builds Hopes For Terrestrial Planet Finder And Hubble Rescue Missions
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said last week that, in effect, reports of the demise of the Terrestrial Planet Finder - and perhaps other major space-exploration projects for the future - have been exaggerated.
http://www.space-travel.com/reports/Griffin_Builds_Hopes_Terrestrial_Planet_Finder_And _Hubble_Missions.html
Despite the decisions, Griffin said, "it is important to note that we are delaying missions, not simply abandoning them. We will still do the Space Interferometry Mission, the Terrestrial Planet Finder, and the Global Precipitation Monitoring mission. We will not do them right now."
Griffin explained that he made the decisions to delay the projects because doing so "would be less harmful to the space program overall than would further delays to the (Crew Exploration Vehicle) program. I simply believe that further delays to CEV are strategically more damaging to this nation than are delays to other missions. I stand by this view."

SolusLupus
2006-Feb-13, 11:45 AM
I believe the best solution to this problem is to remove the Village Idiot--er, President Bush from office.

Err, careful there, puma.

My opinion is that space travel needs to be commercialized. If you have a private corporation that's devoted to space travel, it's *devoted* to space travel. The only real problem is that it will also have to try to get some cash in-flow on the way (but I'm sure that someone could easily accomplish that with the right advertisement and ideas).

Doodler
2006-Feb-13, 01:55 PM
I find it interesting that the science types break out the pitchforks and torches at the slightest implication of a threat to their budget, as if not financing the science missions now means they will never be done ever. Arrogant and selfish. Manned spaceflight is as important as the science program. Both will be done, if not at the same time.

Hugo Drax
2006-Feb-13, 02:09 PM
I find it interesting that the manned types break out the insults whenever the science types complain about their budget being threatened, as if not financing the manned missions now means they will never be done ever. Arrogant and selfish. The science program is as important as manned spaceflight. Both will be done, if not at the same time.

ngc3314
2006-Feb-13, 02:12 PM
I find it interesting that the science types break out the pitchforks and torches at the slightest implication of a threat to their budget, as if not financing the science missions now means they will never be done ever. Arrogant and selfish. Manned spaceflight is as important as the science program. Both will be done, if not at the same time.

On the other hand, the human-spaceflight advocates appeal straight to - no, can't say that. And if science advocates are "arrogant and selfish" - no, I regret to say that I can't word a response that wouldn't justly deserve at least a 48-hour ban. You do realize, I take it, that you have just directly impugned the livelihoods and integrity of some folks on this board? BAUT generally manages an impressive level of civility and reason in discourse, so before a moderator does so, let me appeal for a cooling on this thread.

Duane
2006-Feb-13, 02:40 PM
In fact, a 48 hour cooling off period is in order on this thread. Need I remind everyone of the Rules (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=32864)? I would especially point out 2, 12 & 14.