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NASA Tries To Save Hubble's Successor

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the try-hard dept.

Government 134

Last month we discussed news that the James Webb Space Telescope, the planned successor to the HST, is on the budgetary chopping block. Now, an anonymous reader points out hopeful news from TPM's Idea Lab blog, which says NASA is trying to "spread the cost across the agency rather than just pulling from the $1 billion astrophysics division, with at least half of the funds coming from other areas of NASA's total $18 billion budget." According to Nature News, the decision resides with the White House's Office of Management and Budget, and support for the project depends in particular on Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD).

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134 comments

Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37186712)

Positive news.

Re:Yay (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186748)

Look. If they wanted certain approval and funding into the indefinite future, they should have named the telescope program "Infinite Freedom" or "Patriotism Chapter II" or "Frontier: American Majesty".

It would be unthinkable to stop it.

Re:Yay (5, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187004)

Look. If they wanted certain approval and funding into the indefinite future, they should have named the telescope program "Infinite Freedom" or "Patriotism Chapter II" or "Frontier: American Majesty".

Better still: The Ronald W. Reagan Deep Space Telescope.

Republicans would wet themselves like a little puppy getting its belly scratched. Or like Reagan himself during his last 2 years in office. But there would have to be a rider saying that the telescope would have to be built in Texas and absolutely no union workers could be used. And an amendment naming Genesis Chapter 1 as the Official Creation Story of the United States of America.

On second thought, it would still probably get filibustered until the White House is back safely in the hands of a white Republican man.

Re:Yay (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37187438)

You really need to stop watching msnbc.

Re:Yay (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187024)

The likely plan in that vein would be to see if there is an NRO or DoD project with coattails of sufficient size. The Hubble itself is said to bear a bit of a family resemblance to the later 'Keyhole' surveillance satellites for financial and engineering reasons. There might be something going up that they could slap a slightly different optics package on and then point away from earth...

Re:Yay (1)

fremsley471 (792813) | more than 2 years ago | (#37188366)

Hubble doesn't just have a resemblance to spy satellites, the optics were made by spy satellite manufacturer Perkin-Elmer. This was the primary cause of the original mirror defect as NASA weren't allowed into the factory to check all was well. All this was pretty scandalous as P-E massively underbid everyone else at $60 million, with the final bill actually coming out at $400 million. So plenty of scope for 'unforeseen difficulties' and, one imagines, this is standard practice in sensitive govt. projects.

Kodak (RIP) bid $100 million and actually made the mirror as an engineering project. Anyone know what happened to this?

Re:Yay (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37189594)

Kodak's mirror(ground to spec, unlike the one that made it up) is now on display somewhere. It never progressed to the metal-coating stage, so you can still see the interior lightweight stiffening structure, pretty cool looking.

Incidentally, would it have been crass for Kodak to send a little gift box containing a copy of the mirror spec and a pair of very strong reading glasses to Perkin-Elmer back when the optical problems were first discovered?

I'm sure the deficit hawks will be right on this (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37186718)

Because clearly it's a worthless expenditure that will have no clear and definitive results, but will instead just serve as massive government waste since if this were worth doing, a private telescope company would do it.

Sarcasm mode off.

Re:I'm sure the deficit hawks will be right on thi (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187398)

But with the tax money saved from these wasteful government programs, every American will be building rockets and satellites in their own back yard!

Don't think of it as gutting science and social programs—think of it as the beginning of modern conservatism's great leap forward.

Re:I'm sure the deficit hawks will be right on thi (3, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187476)

But with the tax money saved from these wasteful government programs, every American will be building rockets and satellites in their own back yard!

JWST is expected to cost $6,500,000,000 if it doesn't go even further over budget. That's more than twenty times as much as SpaceX say they spent to develop Falcon 9.

So yes, if those billions were given to people building rockets then there'd be a heck of a lot of them.

Re:I'm sure the deficit hawks will be right on thi (2)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187894)

Which would be really cool. That way we'd have lots more rockets with which to launch ... uhm ... what, exactly?

Re:I'm sure the deficit hawks will be right on thi (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37188056)

Which would be really cool. That way we'd have lots more rockets with which to launch ... uhm ... what, exactly?

Whatever you want.

If SpaceX can build Falcon 9 for about a tenth of what NASA estimated it to cost, they could probably knock out a couple of JWSTs for a billion or less.

Re:I'm sure the deficit hawks will be right on thi (1)

rumith (983060) | more than 2 years ago | (#37188302)

And also discover a cure to cancer while they're on it. Because developing a rocket and building a telescope are so similar tasks after all, right? The fact that SpaceX has lots of talented propulsion engineers doesn't mean that these guys know the stuff that's required to construct something like JWST.

Re:I'm sure the deficit hawks will be right on thi (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37189092)

Definitely a case of apples and oranges - have Space X developed a space telescope? Does the JWST launch satellites? In both cases: no.

Its like saying "instead of spending this $100,000 on building this house, instead I'm going to give it to these people to build delivery trucks." It doesn't solve the problem the original amount was spent to solve.

Re:I'm sure the deficit hawks will be right on thi (0)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187412)

Keep your sarcasm mode off for a bit and answer this for me. What exactly are the benefits of it? Will it continue to cost money paid for either by NASA or the US government?

And if it is so worth doing, then why hasn't private enterprise or even private charities funded it or part of it?

Re:I'm sure the deficit hawks will be right on thi (4, Insightful)

Iron (III) Chloride (922186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187616)

Because the JWST yields scientific knowledge that does not have immediate forseeable potential for profit, companies aren't going to be paying for it (other than possibly for PR purposes). As to private charities, it appears to me that most of philanthropies sponsoring science research are aimed towards promotion of causes like human health, renewable energy, etc. - daily, practical concerns. Nothing lofty like the JWST which will help us view the cosmos. Even basic biology research that might have a medical impact 50 years down the road won't get sponsored by charities, because there is way too much uncertainty involved.

That's why government funding is necessary to sponsor basic science research - for those areas of science which are so far down the road in terms of turning a direct potential benefit to humanity, that can either radically change our view of the world and our way of living or simply be an interesting piece of trivia. Most of the time it's somewhere in between, in which even the interesting factoids will provide bits and pieces of the puzzle on our way to the Next Great Invention or Theory (TM).

Re:I'm sure the deficit hawks will be right on thi (1)

samweber (71605) | more than 2 years ago | (#37189734)

And if it is so worth doing, then why hasn't private enterprise or even private charities funded it or part of it?

Writing a statement like that on the internet which was, of course, started by the government, is like saying "Keep the government's hands off Medicare!". Breathtaking in its ignorance.

Have you ever heard of Google? Well, it was started by a grant from the US Government's National Science Foundation.

And take Akamai. It now delivers between 15 and 30% of all web traffic, and is used by all of the top 20 eCommerce sites. But when the founders tried to start it, no company or investor was interested. Instead, the government funded them and that is why they exist today.

If you want innovation, supporting governmental-funded research is the way to go.

Re:I'm sure the deficit hawks will be right on thi (2)

Darth Snowshoe (1434515) | more than 2 years ago | (#37190582)

OH GOD I am so tired of this argument - 'If it's worth doing then why isn't the private sector doing it, or funding it'. Private sector absolutely is beholden to the shareholders and the quarterly profit cycle. That's exactly why lots of tropical diseases that are imminently curable go unaddressed - oh, they don't have money? No new drugs for them.

If you were honest with yourself, you could fire up Wikipedia, or open up a history book, and make a list of 'things the government did first that private industry benefited from later'. Ok, here's my five second stab at that

- the interstate system
- the internet
- lots of immunizations and vaccines
- GPS
- MOSIS
- sequencing the genome
- clean water and air standards, which are nice

This magical thinking that if the government evaporated tomorrow, some guy in his garage would do all those things, somehow better and more efficiently, is a crutch for people who are uninterested in how the world really works. In effect, NASA IS PAYING private companies to develop and build the JWST - but twenty guys in twenty garages somewhere are not going to independently come up with twenty telescopes better than Perkins Elmer, Ball Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, and Northrup Grumman - who are all getting money as part of JWST, and, last time I checked, all ARE part of private industry. In fact, you might reasonably argue that it is reflexive dishonesty and underbidding by the commercial subcontractors (who have been conditioned to this by decades of working for the Pentagon) that has been the major driver of cost overruns. But hey, believe what you want -

Re:I'm sure the deficit hawks will be right on thi (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 2 years ago | (#37190640)

Because MBAs and other Libertardians are too stupid, lazy and greedy to do anything for the public good unless there's a buttload of money in it for their own personal enrichment, preferably stolen from the taxpayers. Half a century ago corporations felt a responsibility towards the communities in which they were located and built parks, libraries and medical facilities for the families of the people who worked for them. Today's MBA-diseased corporations won't even donate to the food banks that their impoverished employees need to survive.

Danger! (2)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186734)

As Alan Stern pointed out on NASA Watch earlier today, this is a very dangerous move for the space science community.

The science program has worked hard to put up firewalls to prevent the manned program from raiding them for funding when the going gets tough. By breaking that firewall in the opposite direction it opens the science directorate to future funding losses when things get bad on the manned side, (as they are sure to when the already obvious failures of SLS come calling).

Between these two massive programs whose budgets keep growing I fear for the interesting smaller programs on boh the manned and unmanned sides...

Re:Danger! (3, Insightful)

PvtVoid (1252388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186804)

As Alan Stern pointed out on NASA Watch earlier today, this is a very dangerous move for the space science community.

The science program has worked hard to put up firewalls to prevent the manned program from raiding them for funding when the going gets tough. By breaking that firewall in the opposite direction it opens the science directorate to future funding losses when things get bad on the manned side.

What manned program? The Russian one?

Re:Danger! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37186860)

Ares1/x, Ares V, SLS, factions in congress that wanted to add 2 to 5 shuttle flights while COTS got underway (at a cost of ~7 billion)....just because we're not flying anything doesn't mean we're not burning huge amounts of money pretending that we are.

Re:Danger! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37187468)

My understanding was that the entire constellation program has been canned. Obviously no more shuttle flights, they're being shipped off to museums.

So I guess we're back to the question, "what manned spaceflight program?"

Re:Danger! (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187626)

My understanding was that the entire constellation program has been canned. Obviously no more shuttle flights, they're being shipped off to museums.

The problem is that Congressthings keep trying to push Constellation back in through the back door. Hence the current plan for NASA to develop a heavy-lift launcher for which there are no missions.

So I guess we're back to the question, "what manned spaceflight program?"

The one where you buy launches from private companies so you don't have to waste money building your own rockets that cost ten times as much per pound to orbit and can therefore spend it on doing useful stuff in space instead?

But that won't happen while space cadets keep demanding that NASA must build and fly its own rockets and the rockets used by the rest of the world to launch billion-dollar satellites just won't do. I mean, NASA is OK with launching a $6.5 billion dollar satellite on a commercial launcher, but we're supposed to believe it's too risky for astronauts?

Re:Danger! (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186940)

ISS, CCDEV, COTS, SLS. There's more to human spaceflight than the space shuttle.

Future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37186760)

The budget won't be an issue once the telescope finds aliens that can teach us how to duplicate stuff!

Re:Future (0)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186792)

A good quality machine lathe can duplicate itself. I suppose we need aliens to teach us that knowledge because our school teachers no longer do.

I think that speaks more about the quality of the education system in this world than the need to search for aliens.

Re:Future (-1, Flamebait)

PvtVoid (1252388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186820)

Mod parent way the fuck up.

Re:Future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37186990)

Yes, because self duplication is so helpful.

Re:Future (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37189716)

While this thread is going off-topic from discussing the politics of space-based telescopes, self-duplication is a critical issue in terms of the fact that it is through this process that modern society exists. You had better believe that it is very helpful.

In a world where machines can't ultimately duplicate themselves (with trained technicians operating those machines), you simply would not be able to create new machines, and the entire concept of a machine would be "magic". At some fundamental level, you need to have tools which can make other tools like itself. That is the very basis for technology in the first place.

Why this whole thread is being modded down seems a bit odd to me, especially as the modding is not being made off-topic. I suppose I should try to dovetail the discussion back, with the idea that without self-replicating machines that neither the Hubble nor JWST would be possible.

Just tell Romney that it'll be able to see Kolob (1)

apparently (756613) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186768)

and he'll put funding for it as the first item on his presidential agenda. Word on the Hill is that the jobs plan Romney's announcing in September involves putting a sizable number of Americans to work building his spaceship so that he can scope out an appropriate location for his galactic rule; funding for a measly telescope seems like a natural fit, no?

Re:Just tell Romney that it'll be able to see Kolo (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186806)

Romney just wants to be the president of the council of the twelve sealing a couple in the celestial room while orbiting above Kobol.

Oh wait, Loren Green already beat him to that, didn't he?

Repeat after me..... JWSB != Hubble successor (1, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186778)

This fact alone steams me up to no end, where this meme needs to be killed for once and for all. The Hubble Space Telescope is a fine instrument, but the James Webb Telescope is not being designed to do the same mission and is not a replacement for the Hubble. It is flat out misleading for those in the NASA space exploration directorates to keep repeating this lie.

There may be a good reason to have the James Web Telescope too, but defend it for its own mission and don't be riding the coattails of Hubble either, particularly when the capabilities of Hubble are going to be gone when that telescope finally kicks the bucket. There very well may be another telescope (or not) to act as a genuine replacement, but this isn't it.

You better get NASA on the horn (5, Informative)

apparently (756613) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186848)

Repeat after me..... JWSB != Hubble successor

I hate to "steam" you even more, but NASA disagrees with your "JWSC !- Hubble successor" belief.

Webb often gets called the replacement for Hubble, but we prefer to call it a successor. [nasa.gov] After all, Webb is the scientific successor to Hubble; its science goals were motivated by results from Hubble. Hubble's science pushed us to look to longer wavelengths to "go beyond" what Hubble has already done. In particular, more distant objects are more highly redshifted, and their light is pushed from the UV and optical into the near-infrared.

...which is the first paragraph on their page addressing whether or not Webb is Hubble's successor. I don't mean to imply that they're an authoritative voice or anything on the subject, but surely their opinion should be weighed into your semantics argument?

Re:Repeat after me..... JWSB != Hubble successor (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186862)

This meme is a good enough approximation for most useful purposes. Yes, Hubble is more on the visual spectrum and JWSB is for the infrared spectrum. But Webb will be used to extend a lot of the stuff that Hubble did. It is in that regard the next logical thing to have after Hubble. Hubble showed us that large telescopes in space could work. Much of what Hubble could do is stuff that we can do or almost can do with large ground telescopes. JWSB will however do a lot of stuff in wavelengths that ground telescopes cannot use. But Webb would be nearly impossible without the experience and knowledge we got from Hubble. And a lot of the planned missions for Webb will consist of looking at stuff that Hubble already looked at. Calling this the Hubble successor pretty well captures the spirit and purpose even if it doesn't quite satisfy the nitpicker in all of us.

Re:Repeat after me..... JWSB != Hubble successor (3, Informative)

PyroMosh (287149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186888)

You are right, JWST is not Hubble. But there seems to be no reason at all to replace Hubble with an identical instrument. In that regard, as a spaceborne science telescope that can help capture the public's imagination of sights across the universe, the JWST *is* the Hubble successor, and it's useful to keep calling that.

Hubble's mission became largely irrelevant half way through it's lifetime. The purpose was to achieve detail which was impossible for ground based instruments that were trapped below miles of distorting atmosphere.

After Hubble was launched, researchers perfected techniques to work around atmospheric distortions. They fire a laser up and observe how the atmosphere distorts the beam. Using this data, a computer reverses the distortion of the atmosphere that the telescope is observing. Clever and effective. There are now dozens of earth based stations that are better instruments than Hubble.

So JWST is designed to do what ground based stations can never do: observe parts of the spectrum that never reach the ground. No amount of computer trickery or laser distortion detection will make infrared light reach the surface. The atmosphere blocks most of it. So in that respect: A space based telescope designed to do what ground based stations CAN'T, it *is* a successor.

This also ignores the fact that Hubble is enormously popular. There is power in this. Why would NASA not leverage that popularity and say "Remember that great program we started in the early 90s with the space telescope? Congress wants to axe funding for the next one that will be EVEN BETTER!"

Re:Repeat after me..... JWSB != Hubble successor (2)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187220)

The JWST is a nightmare in terms of the management of that project, where engineering changes alone due to a lack of vision about what exactly it was supposed to do in the first place are causing enormous grief and huge budgetary problems. There reaches a point where you simply have a pull the plug on a poorly run project.

I would argue that killing the JWST and instead taking the current design goals, sending it out to bid on a new project with new construction, would bring the project in at a cheaper price than simply trying to "salvage" what is left of this current project even if the mission itself was something worth keeping. If done under the right contracting model, you might even get it done sooner and at a much cheaper price.

Heck, it would be huge if NASA decided to make something like a Centennial Prize competition for this telescope: $3 billion for the first telescope, $2 billion for the second and third, and $1 billion split up among anybody left. As an extra incentive, all money awarded would be free of all federal taxes. Convince me there would be no takers for such a competition, where the prize money could only be awarded if the telescope got to space and met specific objective criteria such as being able to obtain data from specific stars and other known objects. For the same price as the JWST, we could have not just one but several telescopes.... even if we completely shut down the existing project and considered all of the money spent to date as water under the bridge.

Yes, I know that technology has improved and there are some changes in scientific objectives which are different than was the case when the Hubble was first built. But there are better ways to get this disaster of a project off the ground.

Re:Repeat after me..... JWSB != Hubble successor (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187514)

Hubble's mission became largely irrelevant half way through it's lifetime. The purpose was to achieve detail which was impossible for ground based instruments that were trapped below miles of distorting atmosphere.

That's only one of Hubble's missions and it still excels at it. (It's also the mission that those who rely on dick size to evaluate a mission focus on.)
 
But Hubble can still see fainter objects than ground based scopes can. Hubble can also see IR and UV wavelengths that don't penetrate the atmosphere. And Hubble can both take pictures and make spectrograms of these objects and in these wavelengths.
 

But there seems to be no reason at all to replace Hubble with an identical instrument.

True. But there's every reason to replace Hubble with an evolved successor operating in the same wavelengths. (In the same way Hubble itself evolved over it's lifetime, exactly as ground based scopes do too.)

Re:Repeat after me..... JWSB != Hubble successor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37188706)

What's more the ground based sharp imaging gp talks about can't be done at optical wavelengths, only at IR. If you want a super sharp optical image, Hubble is still the only game in town.

A telescope is a luxury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37186898)

They are mainly not useful except for emotional value and making cool IMAX movies. I certainly would love to have them everywhere, but in the context of multi-trillion deficits, I'd rather put that one on ice for a few decades... Besides, the Libya war won't pay for itself (sure the oil companies will benefit, but not Uncle Sam)!

Re:A telescope is a luxury (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187320)

If you don't realize how much science advances from the data of space-based telescopes, you shouldn't be commenting on this topic.

Re:Repeat after me..... JWSB != Hubble successor (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186912)

Replacement != successor. JWSB is the latter, not the former. They deal in different spectrum, and Webb will be used to investigate further interesting things Hubble first noticed but couldn't really see in infrared. So its kinda like how human missions to Mars won't replace robot probes, but will succeed them. One fills one role, the other another based on what the first saw.

Re:Repeat after me..... JWSB != Hubble successor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37187140)

In exactly what way is it not a 'successor' when it looks at infrared spectrum while Hubble looked at visibile light spectrum, and we all know (at least I do) about the Hubble's law...

Re:Repeat after me..... JWSB != Hubble successor (1)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37189748)

One thing to remember is the farther things are away from us the older they are and the more red shifted they are. So in order to see farther you have to be able to see fainter , longer wavelengths.

Considering (1)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186782)

Considering the current situation, we (the US) are literally stuck between a rock and a hard place.

It's a shame that political divides politics and greedy assholes paying political figures is causing the downfall of not only the US, but science among other things.

Not true, we have plenty of money (1)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186988)

Science isn't being stopped; just some of it is being slowed down.

Nasa only amounts to a few bucks on most people's taxes. We can afford to fund it easily. Its a drop compared to the ocean of debt the crooks have racked up.

The stupid public continues to let these games be played and falls for the propaganda. The banker's didn't just blow a hole in the economy, they are stealing our money to fill the hole before the next explosion.

The debt is never allowed to be paid off and it's compounding interest is killing our worthwhile programs while we can't cut the real waste problems. No, not the "entitlements" the suckers have been tricked into calling medicare, social security, and unemployment-- all of which we pay heavily for and are even ITEMIZED out of our paychecks and are NOT entitlement programs! We let politicians characterize them along with the idiotic media as some sort of charity as they STEAL the money we pay SPECIFICALLY for those programs and put it into the pockets of their cronies.

Social Security was designed to be as separated as they could from the general fund but here we've been mortgaging against it since Bush. Now we are being forced to pay up and it'll get worse-- it really won't matter who is in office because its going to be so bad that they will be forced to give up the house to pay the bankers. Its not really a whole lot conceptually different than what the USA did to 3rd world nations for generations using its tools at the IMF and World Bank-- but now everything we did is being done to us (arguably including the assassination of officials in 'accidents,' blackmail, etc. of course payoffs were far more common... ) It also didn't do us any good to allow all this CIA economic warfare to leak so much into the private sector.. and now with our military as well. Back when it was the USA backing it on others at least the USA was safe - now its migrated away and out of our control. Movies like "The International" are only a tip of the sort of things going on already today in more complex ways (they have to keep it simple in a movie.)

You rob a bank. get hard time. You run a bank into the ground; you get rich. there is no legitimate outrage out there; just flip the channel or find a website that makes you feel better and move on.

Re:Considering (1)

Leebert (1694) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187160)

we (the US) are literally stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Forgive the off-topic, but: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/literally [theoatmeal.com]

You people and your petty problems (2, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186786)

Look, in order to save tax breaks for private jets, sacrifices have to be made. I mean, which is more important, exploring the vastness of the universe, unlocking the secrets of mankind, or making sure trust fund babies dont have to shell out a small amount more for their private jets. If you answered the former, you are an American-hating, greedy, muslim-atheist socialist!

You realize taxes won't fix this, right? (-1, Troll)

Crazy Taco (1083423) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186900)

You do realize that even if the taxes you propose are imposed:

  1. 1. They won't collect as much money as they say they will, because taxes generally hurt economic growth and/or cause people to hide money and
  2. 2. even if they got as much money as they expect, it won't help because congress always raises spending even more than the amount they get in new taxes. Always. Every single time. It's a historical fact. Let me repeat it again: every time they raise taxes, they raise spending even more, so they still will have deficit spending and won't have enough for the telescope.

So in summary, if you want a space telescope, the best thing you could advocate would be dramatically cutting spending elsewhere, and then maybe we would have money for that. Perhaps if we weren't a foodstamps nation with a record number of people claiming benefits we could afford this?

Re:You realize taxes won't fix this, right? (3, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186936)

You are and idiot, that much is clear. Early to-mid-90s, raised revenues, spending, not so much. Result, surplus. Seriously, are you REALLY that dumb? or just trolling?

Re:You realize taxes won't fix this, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37188190)

That surplus is a lie.

You can watch this old clip of Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-SC) say so http://www.c-spanarchives.org/program/SenateSession2384&start=6825 he called both parties liars for claiming there was a surplus. He says there hasn't been a surplus since LBJ.

The 'surplus' was an accounting gimmick related to Social Security and the various trust funds.

Fact Check acknowledges the 'surplus' figure depends heavily on Social Security, the off-budget trust fund, but ignores the on-budget trust funds while Democrat Hollings does not. Money was borrowed from these trust funds to paper over the revenue shortfalls and make it appear there was a surplus.

Actual conservatives, not Bush neocons and radio blowhards, have made these points for years too.

Re:You realize taxes won't fix this, right? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37188350)

You fail elementary math. The deficits were including the same accounting tricks, as was the surplus. The point remains that raising taxes raised revenue that was NOT exceeded by increases in spending, disproving the GPs point.

But when we lower taxes, it trickles down! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37186970)

It's been trickling down since the 80's. I'm walking around in friggin rubber boots and sloshing through the waves of trickle that lowering taxes has wrought me. All heil Reagan!

Re:You realize taxes won't fix this, right? (3, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187292)

Your reasoning is fictitious.

If people are evading taxes, the proper response is to put them in prison, not give them a tax break. Similarly, taxes hurt the economy, but so does unregulated banking, subsidies, and bailouts (yes, they do, really). You argue as if any raise in income is physically impossible, which seems to have become a meme among the fascist right. Taxes do not have an immediate or even pronounced effect. They have a slowing effect IF the money is not well spent after it is collected. However, an increase in taxes will always yield a an increase an income, until you get to absurd levels (which pretty much by definition are going to have to be higher than Europe...).

"It's a historical fact. Let me repeat it again: every time they raise taxes, they raise spending even more, so they still will have deficit spending and won't have enough for the telescope."

This is not true*, but for the sake of argument, lets say it was. Doesn't it stand to reason that if spending is lowered, that taxes will be lowered, and the deficit will remain the same? Ah, but that's what you want... the government to not be involved in economic matters. Let the poor fend for themselves. Sorry, we tried that for the last 3 decades, and it got us here. Now is not the time to try to destroy the country with even more of the same failed ideology, it is time to try something new. You are welcome to sit down and shut up.

* Our modern deficit was built by Reagan and the Bushes.

Re:You realize taxes won't fix this, right? (0)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187496)

* Our modern deficit was built by Reagan and the Bushes.
 
Have you bothered to look at what Obama has done during his short time in office? It dwarfs what Reagan and the Bushes did.

Re:You realize taxes won't fix this, right? (2)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187550)

Have you bothered to look at what Obama has done during his short time in office? It dwarfs what Reagan and the Bushes did.

1. I would hardly call slightly more "dwarfing." [usgovernmentdebt.us]
2. Obama actually had an economic downturn to deal with, largely created by Reaganomics. Bailouts, stimulus, etc. Bush and Reagan had huge economic booms, such as the dotcom boom. Yet, still ran a massive deficit.
3. I'm tired of the double standard. Tax and spend is always evil... when it is a democrat doing it. Teatards spend days solid ranting about how immoral and harmful to the economy it is when Obama runs a deficit, and yet completely forgive when Republicans do it, both in the past and present.

Re:You realize taxes won't fix this, right? (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187614)

Have you bothered to look at what Obama has done during his short time in office? It dwarfs what Reagan and the Bushes did.

Well, clearly you haven't, because what you claim is completely false.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_by_U.S._presidential_terms [wikipedia.org]

I know, it's an article of faith with you, and there's no point in trying to change your mind with facts. Arguing economics with Republicans is like arguing biology with creationists.

Re:You realize taxes won't fix this, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37187694)

Arguing economics with Republicans is arguing biology with creationists

Re:You realize taxes won't fix this, right? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#37189782)

If people are evading taxes, the proper response is to put them in prison, not give them a tax break.

I didn't realize that electing to not buy a product which had taxes raised on it qualifies as tax evasion.

Re:You realize taxes won't fix this, right? (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 2 years ago | (#37190184)

Please explain how this would have anything to do with, say, going to a progressive rather than a flat capital gains tax. current 15% up to the first million/year, up to say 75% for personal capital gains over $25 million/year. If anything that tax structure should encourage reinvestment in things that stimulate the real economy and/or pay dividends.

Re:You realize taxes won't fix this, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37187296)

1. Then we don't pretend to raise taxes, but just send men with guns into their houses, shoot them, and take what we want. Ok, so that's the violent repressive option, but your mindless fretting over tax evasion is silly. It could be applied to any law, but except in a few libertarian anarchist circles, that doesn't get much credence, since everybody else knows there is a tension between compliance and violation of any law.

But the real point is deeper than you think, which is that there is no correlation between tax rates and economic performance. That's right, go check out the 40s, 50s, 60s, higher tax rates, even with the avoiders, and yet...economics were fine.

2. That's congress for you. Can't predict the future, have to keep growing.

But I see your real point is...you hate those free-loaders on food-stamps. You really certain they're going to actually leap to the unfilled jobs out there if they can't afford the food to eat?? Oh, wait, they won't. Especially how many of them are seniors, disabled, or children.

You want them to work? GIVE THEM JOBS YOU MORON, DON'T LEAVE THEM TO STARVE. They won't choose that. They may choose to come to your house and break your door down and take your food if that becomes the better choice for them.

How much will dealing with that cost you?

Re:You realize taxes won't fix this, right? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187576)

1. They won't collect as much money as they say they will, because taxes generally hurt economic growth and/or cause people to hide money and

[citation needed]

Note: any reference to the Soviet Union or other communist countries is a red (hah!) herring and will be disregarded, because there is an enormous difference between raising income taxes by a few percent -- especially when, as now, they're at historically low levels -- and the government taking total control of the economy.

2. even if they got as much money as they expect, it won't help because congress always raises spending even more than the amount they get in new taxes. Always. Every single time. It's a historical fact. Let me repeat it again: every time they raise taxes, they raise spending even more, so they still will have deficit spending and won't have enough for the telescope.

Prove it. Seriously. You've made an extraordinary claim, give some extraordinary proof. Show historical data for every tax increase in history which indicates that deficit spending increases more than the amount of revenue raised. (Hint: you can't.) Also, has it not occurred to you that if there is increased spending, NASA might be one of the things we'd spend more money on?

Actually, I think I know the answer to that. You're an antigovernment fanatic, but you still want the government to spend money on things you think are cool, so in your mind "government spending" is bad stuff like feeding hungry people. Thus you are completely incapable of believing that any extra tax dollars could go to building a space telescope. Thanks for providing yet another example of the right-wing disconnect from reality.

Yeah (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37186814)

I would totally donate $100 for the JWST if I could. Losing $100 would make me feel less sad than seeing this project cancelled. Put my name on some donor web page or something, like the Blender open movie credits my name is in.

Re:Yeah (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187118)

Join the Planetary Society. DVDs with the names of its members inscribed have gone on several interplanetary missions.

Contact info for Senator Mikulski (2)

sdo1 (213835) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186818)

http://mikulski.senate.gov/contact/ [senate.gov]

BTW, she's also got a crabcake recipe on her site. That scores points in my book...

-S

Re:Contact info for Senator Mikulski (1)

blahblahwoofwoof (2287010) | more than 2 years ago | (#37189868)

http://mikulski.senate.gov/contact/ [senate.gov]

BTW, she's also got a crabcake recipe on her site. That scores points in my book...

-S

It should score points! If it's in the hand of "Babs" Mikulski, it's a done deal. She is a major supporter of NASA and utterly relentless. The Webb telescope will launch if she has anything to say about it.

Why do politicians even look to NASA for cuts? (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186906)

NASA has a shoestring budget, when you're looking to make big cuts, you could eliminate NASA altogether and it wouldn't even be a noticeable debt reduction plan.

What should be looked into is lowering defense. Ever since the atomic stalemate between US and Russia, no one is going to invade a nuclear armed country because there is threat of nuclear retaliation. I'd think we could even get by with just a little better than shoestring budget on defense in the current world.

You have two roads to take: "Killing people who disagree with you" or "Reduce defense, feed everyone who's hungry on the planet, and have money left over."

It is very easy to argue that feeding everyone on the planet is a better defense mechanism than killing our enemies. Look at how many allies you'd get if you fed everyone hungry on the planet! How many allies do you get when you're killing people?

Re:Why do politicians even look to NASA for cuts? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187110)

As I understand it, JWST is ten years behind schedule and billions over budget. It's clearly a strong candidate for cancellation unless they can show that it will actually get finished and launched within the current predicted budget.

Re:Why do politicians even look to NASA for cuts? (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187150)

If you chart the US budget deficit for the last 30+ years and put it up next to the military spending you get a fairly good correspondence most years. Many years the US would run a surplus without the military sucking the blood out of the budget.

How cowardly does Washington have to be that they need to spend more money on the military than every other country in the world combined to "defend" themselves?

Re:Why do politicians even look to NASA for cuts? (1)

NNKK (218503) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187318)

IIRC, my back-of-the-envelope calculations a year or so ago were that cutting the defense budget in half basically solved US revenue problems, and still left us with a better military than the next ten combined.

It's more complicated than that since you have to compensate for the economic impact of reduced defense spending, but a gradual combination of cuts and redirection to more productive things (e.g. infrastructure, education and job training, alternative energy investments, etc.) would get us into a much better situation.

Of course, this makes too much damn sense to ever happen.

Re:Why do politicians even look to NASA for cuts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37188430)

America doesn't just defend itself. It defends everybody. That's why these other nations spend so little.

A better way to look at it is as a percentage of GDP. U.S. military spending is traditionally 5% or less of GDP. Now, even with the wars, it's nearing 3% of GDP. The federal gov't as a whole is nearing 25% of GDP, well above norms.

Having a military is an enumerated power of the U.S. federal govt in the constitution while the social programs making over half the budget, the environmental programs, education programs, wall street bailout programs, business bailout programs, foreign aid programs and a billion other things are not.

It's silly to assume the old MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) thinking of the Cold War applies, particularly when most threats are conventional and nuclear weapons are highly unlikely to be used to meet a conventional threat.

What evidence is there that the relative global peace we've enjoyed would continue if America slashed its military capability in half as another poster suggests? Who will man the UN "peace keeping" missions?

Re:Why do politicians even look to NASA for cuts? (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 2 years ago | (#37188670)

If you chart the US budget deficit for the last 30+ years and put it up next to the military spending you get a fairly good correspondence most years. Many years the US would run a surplus without the military sucking the blood out of the budget.

How cowardly does Washington have to be that they need to spend more money on the military than every other country in the world combined to "defend" themselves?

Its ok, the USA can just borrow some more money from China to fund its war machine.

Re:Why do politicians even look to NASA for cuts? (1)

TheDarkNose (1613701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37189938)

Do you even know what most of that defense spending goes to? A huge amount of it is for scientific programs, well, not just like the JWST, but that's because space telescopes are NASA's job. To tell the truth, their work in optics has probably made these telescopes a whole lot more possible. If we cut all of that, people all over would be whining that we had cut a huge amount of the USA's science donations

While I am a fan of finishing this, ..... (2)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186924)

we need change how these kinds of projects are done. Our problem is that we are using cost plus on all of these and every player in this is making money hand over fist. It is a NIGHTMARE. Instead, like commercial launch services, we need to push for having this done via a bid basis. Basically, large american companies should do fixed bids on this and then be required to anti up. Ideally, this same idea can be extended to support building of satellite backbones. Then to the backbone, we simply attach new instruments.

Re:While I am a fan of finishing this, ..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37186980)

Wrongo, there, my friend...

they *are* competitively bid. And they're not "cost plus percentage" because that's been illegal for decades. It's actual costs plus a fixed fee (or worse, a fee that goes down as the cost goes up). Spend more than you planned and a) you risk cancellation; and b) your percentage profit goes down (which Wall Street hates, so maybe they'll cancel you) You're not going to do this with fixed price, because there's too much risk doing things that haven't been done before. It's not like measuring the length of the road that needs to be paved and multiplying by the cost per foot.

For most missions, it is a standard spacecraft bus, onto which instruments are attached. JWST, though, is huge, and the bus *is* the instrument. And, of course, if you're doing something like going to Jupiter as Juno is, it's not like there's a standard spacecraft with 50 meterlong solar panels and a titanium vault for radiation shielding.

Re:While I am a fan of finishing this, ..... (1, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#37189302)

wrongo indeed.
You are putting words into my mouth. I said 'cost plus'. That is ALL I SAID. You are the one trying to make it fix vs. % on the minor amount
The problem with cost plus is that companies have zero incentives to cut costs and leads to costs overruns instead. The companies simply run up the costs, of which costs have built in profits.
IIRC, reagan put NASA and DOD on cost plus. That lead to costs overrun and timelines that extended 2-3x what was planned. Finally under clinton, the DOD was allowed to switch to fixed bid. It worked for ULA and Delta.
COTS was awarded as fixed bid, and then CRS was done as the same.
Well, that is the same approach on the CCdev. These are fixed bids going out to accomplish a set amount of work. This is leading to cost overruns being gone.

That same approach can be done on future NASA projects. If the company bids and then claims that they can not finish it for the money, not a problem. They are simply forbidden from any future NASA contracts. Issue solved.

Dear Senator Mikulski (1)

milkmage (795746) | more than 2 years ago | (#37186938)

Please allow me to have 7 minutes of your time.

The Hubble Deep Field: The Most Important Image Ever Taken
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcBV-cXVWFw [youtube.com]

Thank You.

Re:Dear Senator Mikulski (0)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187294)

Oh. My. Fucking. God.

And I used to wonder why science doesn't get any respect. With people like that speaking for it, it's a wonder there isn't a bounty on scientists.

Re:Dear Senator Mikulski (0)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37188102)

Interesting pictures, interesting ideas but I don't think it is worth $8.5B+. The clip talked about how big numbers are difficult to comprehend; $8.5B+ is a huge number. I would prefer that money be spent on things that will make life better here on earth. Sorry but finding the origins of the universe does not pass that test.

Re:Dear Senator Mikulski (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37189596)

Interesting pictures, interesting ideas but I don't think it is worth $8.5B+. The clip talked about how big numbers are difficult to comprehend; $8.5B+ is a huge number. I would prefer that money be spent on things that will make life better here on earth. Sorry but finding the origins of the universe does not pass that test.

Why not? How can you tell, how can you be sure? All fields in science are related one to each other, and some of the greatest discoveries have happened serendipitously. There hundreds of other ways to save money, cutting any kind of science is just the most obtuse and short sighted way to achieve that.

Re:Dear Senator Mikulski (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37189750)

Well lets just spent it on more bank bailouts!

Re:Dear Senator Mikulski (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37190384)

no, $8.5B over the life of the program is not a large number. the annual budget for the Joint IED Defense Office (one tiny program in the DoD) is $18B, larger than NASA's total annual budget

Re:Dear Senator Mikulski (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37190722)

Of course 8.5 Billion is a waste, a much better use would be spending 6 weeks hanging out in Iraq. It's such a good use, we've decided to spend over 3 trillion over there. I don't understand all these idiots who think a telescope is better of money than blowing people up.

NPR donation model... (1)

Temujin_12 (832986) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187128)

Someone enlighten me if I'm clueless here, but here's my thought:

Why not have a section when people do their taxes to donate to specific programs directly. I know you can donate to the IRS in general, but I never heard of them making high-level programs available for specific citizen-targeted donations. Another possibility is to have a portion of individual citizen's taxes be customized by them so they can control somewhat where their tax money goes (this could only work as a small percentage).

This would provide a way for the public to voice their priorities/opinions by donating to programs which they find most beneficial. In this instance, it would allow the public to make up for the inane budgeting cuts as politicians think they are qualified to judge the scientific merits of different programs within NASA.

Politicians could also find out real quick what programs are most popular with the public.

Thoughts?

Re:NPR donation model... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187718)

Why do you hate America?

Welcome to America (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187242)

You can have billions in oil and corn subsidies, trillions in arms, but how dare you suggest we actually have a space program on par with countries such as Russia, China, and India...

will it hurt if it is 20 years from now (1)

Twillerror (536681) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187490)

I'm just as exited about finding these answers as anyone, but what are the real ramifications and are we actually creating new technology or just struggling to use existing to solve a complicated problem.

I lost my mother to cancer a few years ago now. So yes this is a bit emotional, but I rather this 5 billion go to cancer research. This will have real ramifications.

If you look at say the Apollo program it was pretty obvious that solving the problem ( going to moon ) would solve many problems that would spread out in the rest of society. The list is long from material science to better computer. Not to mention better rockets.

I guess I need the case to be pitched as to what are potential overall gains we might see. The real return from this national R&D. If it just a bunch of scientists trying to prove the big bang theory I think it could wait...until we have health care costs and other things under control . If the world could spread the costs or we could think of a cheaper way to solve this problem and others that would be a better use of cash.

I suppose you could make the same case for Hubble telescope. The end result is a little more accessible I suppose. The pictures from Hubble have inspired people in ways we can't replicate. I just wonder if the Webb scope would have the same kind of effect.

Re:will it hurt if it is 20 years from now (1)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187562)

If JWST is cancelled, the next decade of Astrophysics research in the USA is dead in the water. Over. Finito. Some perspective: the Department of Defense spends more money each year on air conditioning for its troops stationed in the Middle East, than the ENTIRE NASA budget. Certainly, I don't begrudge our troops some comfort in their living quarters; but isn't it *at least* as important that we launch the JWST, which -- unlike anything before it -- has the capability of observing the very first stars and galaxies, at the very dawn of the Universe?

Re:will it hurt if it is 20 years from now (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187608)

If JWST is cancelled, the next decade of Astrophysics research in the USA is dead in the water. Over. Finito.

How's that possible when JWST isn't supposed to launch until at least 2018?

Re:will it hurt if it is 20 years from now (1)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 2 years ago | (#37187630)

Because all of the other planning in Astrophysics (in particular, the recent Decadal Survey) has been based on the presumption that JWST would be occurring. This includes decisions about what other missions to support; what preparatory science to fund; who to hire into faculty positions; etc.

Cancellation of JWST would be as much of a blow to Astrophysics as the cancellation of the SSC was to US Particle Physics (think: CERN).

Duplicates ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37188990)

What is the point to talk about US particle physics ? Are they any different from the European particles ?

Show me any good paper on the sociology, holyday trip patterns, or economic segregation of Atomic Particles, and maybe that argument can grow some legs.

Since CERN is doing the job, why would $trillions-indebted USA want to do the same thing also ? Don't you have more relevant things to do, like invading another oil field, rigging some gold bars, or plundering some homeless people ?

JWST is a better thing to throw at the scientific community, for there is no duplicates planned anywhere else, and besides, you wouldn't want the Chinese (or Europeans) to launch a sattelite that could look at the US army in the eyes.

Re:will it hurt if it is 20 years from now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37188522)

If it just a bunch of scientists trying to prove the big bang theory I think it could wait...until we have health care costs and other things under control

Except that we will always have out-of-control costs in health care, defense, and everything else.

And to play Devil's Advocate (no pun intended), demonstrating that the Universe is 13.6 billion years old instead of, say, 6000 years old, does have a positive return on investment -- particularly when it comes to life sciences.

A society whose citizens have no observational evidence for theories regarding the age and early state of the Universe is a nation whose science textbooks - starting with the biology textbooks - will soon be replaced with bibles.

Yeah, pump the money in pharmaceutical cie ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37188926)

And magically, you'll have cure for some disease ...

But, way, lets do some reality check beforehand : is cancer cured ? nope, it's 'managed', same as any other deadly disease that don't present an economically threatening infection pattern.

If pharmaceutical companies where really interested in actually curing people, they'll drop their patent scheme, so that Africans and other poor fellows all around the world dying from easily-cured diseases could get treatment. Are they doing that right now ?

So, back to thinking : is it more profitable to Cure cancer, or to simply 'manage' it ? Once you can answer this one, you can find if it's a good idea to shell out money to them.

I'd say it's a better idea to fund Nasa & their covert lookout for threatening lumps of rocks (and Alien spaceships) that are statistically heading our way. At least, it's economically interesting to blast them, and nobody cares if their life is screwed by radiation poisonning.

Re:will it hurt if it is 20 years from now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37189188)

I lost my mother to cancer a few years ago now. So yes this is a bit emotional, but I rather this 5 billion go to cancer research. This will have real ramifications.

Does it need to be binary? Certainly we need money for cancer research, but we also need to fund a plethora of other projects, even strange abstract mathematical ones. I don't think that moving money from space exploration to cancer research will necessarily see the kinds of marginal gains you're thinking about.

I'm sorry you lost your mother, but from where I'm standing it seems like cancer might at some point have to be accepted as a standard risk of living.

bollocks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37188954)

Nasa gets it up there, takes 10,000 pics a day with a super high CCD image processor which costs the US tax payer MIllions and we'll get a couple of VGA sized pixelated airbushed photos on the net in a years time for our troubles.
NOT WORTH IT

Great summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37189038)

No need to RTFA this time, it doesn't have any more information than what's in the ./ summary. A first?

How many smart bombs is this ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37189408)

Any time there is an issue with funding NASA should express the amount in relation to the amount the American government spends killing people around the world.

e.g. "Well we could either not do this interesting research for the benefit of all mankind or you could drop 2 less smart bombs on some innocent brown people."

Re:How many smart bombs is this ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37189476)

Many times it is American brown people doing the bombing you insensitive clod.

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37189540)

I am surprised by the lack of support for this telescope. It will help us to unlock the secrets of the universe. It will help us to get a better grip on the laws of physics.

It takes Hubble a week to capture what the James Webb will be able to do in a day. This thing should be able to see to the edge of the universe, if we're right about where that is. It will be located in a La Grange point in the Earth's shadow, making something like a 30,000 mile figure-8 orbit which is just cool.

Someone mentioned cancer research instead. The thing is that not all scientists and engineers want to work on cancer. Should they seek other countries to pursue their dreams? What a loss to the US that would be. Besides, scientific and technological progress has a way of spreading around, so who knows, this could end up benefitting cancer research in some way.

Does it cost a lot? Yes. But it's almost done!! If it is cancelled now, all the money that was poured into it will be wasted! When we start a project like this, we need to see it through. Besides, if you look at the percentage of the budget that goes to the military, this is just a drop in the bucket.

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