Space Troll: Discussing the REAL future of Humanity

Hubble not to be rescued

Saturday, January 22, 2005
After the last blue-sky posting, I thought I’d discuss something a bit more hard-nosed.

The story is that NASA is going to submit a budget that scraps efforts to save the Hubble space telescope . This is likely as much a political ploy as a true financial decision; the Hubble has a lot of popular appeal and NASA expects an outcry to help boost their budget. In this way, NASA is functioning by the basic rule of all government agency; cut your most public program to help your budget requests.

I’m sorry, but saving it is not worth the billion or more it will cost to salvage it. There is no question that it has inspired imagination as well as provided some real science. But is the additional ROI worth another billion? Considering that exceeds the entire cost of the two Mars rovers (admittedly, an excessively successful mission, making up for two previous disasters with no return), I personally don’t think so. Hard decisions need to be made to get concentration back on real human-oriented space exploration, this is one of them. Once there is a more permanent presence of human in space, the cost factor for a new telescope rapidly improves.

The ‘Duhh!’ award (along with the kudo award) of the week go to the Cassini/Huygens team. It seems most of the wind measurement readings have been lost because the readouts were not switched over to the proper transponder, sending it through the erratic, slower frequency. After seven years, a significant amount of important data was lost because somebody forgot to pick up the remote and change the channel?? Still, the rest of the outstanding success of the Titan mission makes just a point of minor humor.
5:32 AM :: ::
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