Hubble successor in trouble

For years, astronomers have set their sights on launching a successor to the Hubble Space Telescope-one with 100 times its power-that could peer back to the earliest light of the universe. But funding for the costly James Webb Space Telescope is now under a cloud, targeted for the chopping block.

Amid the larger debate, a House appropriations committee vote last month proposed killing the .

Costs have risen to $6.8 billion-up 50 percent from a 2005 estimate-and may go higher after another NASA review next year.

The telescope is "billions of dollars over budget and plagued by poor management," said the committee, in a statement accompanying the bill, which also proposed cutting NASA's budget 9 percent to $16.8 billion.

Astronomers and political supporters, such as Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., have mobilized to try to save the observatory, which is named for a former , not Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va.

Scheduled for launch no sooner than 2018, four years late, the 21-foot-wide telescope would see the faint light of the first stars, and peer within dust clouds to see planets grow around young stars.

For more than a decade, astronomers have pinned plans on the telescope, which would be equipped with tennis-court-sized shades that unfold to cool the spacecraft against sunlight.

"It will be a game-changer, revolutionary," says University of Chicago astrophysicist Michael Turner, a former National Science Foundation official. However, an expert report last year headed by John Casani of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, found that the telescope's cost had increased about $1.5billion just since 2008.

NASA moved new management in, but the report clearly angered the science spending committee headed by Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va. A committee report said, "that this step will ultimately benefit NASA by setting a cost discipline example for other projects."

When the July vote was taken, Wolf expressed support for the telescope's mission, but only if NASA undertakes fundamental changes in its budget process. He noted that budget busting for the Webb telescope, which the journal Nature last year called "the telescope that ate astronomy," threatened NASA's other science missions.

"Losing the telescope would be a huge blow to U.S. science and prestige," Turner says. "We would basically be telling the world we can't do great things anymore."

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Aug 07, 2011
Hubble found extrasolar planets and gamma ray bursts. The Hubble Deep Field provided a window into a previously unseen younger universe, while the Hubble Ultra Deep Field looked back 13 billion years in time. Not least, it critically provided us with evidence the universe was accelerating. Almost 10,000 scientific papers have been published from data collected by Hubble.

There's a debate about whether ground-based telescopes or space-based telescopes are more cost-effective. But the James Webb is designed to look at objects that are impossible for current ground-based telescopes to see. The price tag inflation is regrettable but it's very common for complicated new technology to be underpriced so NASA can keep in line with its low budget. But the solution is not to gut the project and the $3 billion already spent on it, sticking our heads in the sand. That might be smart to do elsewhere, but space is never going away. One day we will have to learn about it, it's our future.

Aug 07, 2011
If managing a budget is so easy, why can't any of those 'smart' people at NASA manage a project?

Aug 07, 2011
Poor management by a Government agency. That can't be true and must be a TEA Party lie. ALL Government people are saints that care only for the betterment of society. Anyone who says a government organization wastes money is an ignorant fool who doesnt know history or how government works.

We need to give NASA more money and less oversight. It works for the federal government.

And IF there is a problem at NASA, it is Bush's fault.

Aug 07, 2011
James Webb is a economic canary in the mine--if the US has to cuts it then the US in a generation will turn from superpower to a weak North American Argentina.

Aug 08, 2011
Painful to hear, been looking forward to jwst for years now but hey, rich people and companies create jobs somehow so they need those tax breaks. Look how well its working so far.......

Aug 08, 2011
The TEA Party Fascistas would like one to believe that taxing the rich would bring little money to the nations table. That is a 'big lie' worthy of Hitler's propagandist Rudolf Goebbels. It is a recorded fact that in this country a very small minority of rich companies and persons control over ninety percent of the nation's wealth. That is the only place the money IS. To not tax them is to invite revolution! Two misbegotten policies are dragging us down: a misfocused tax priority of not putting the taxes on those who benefit most from our society, the rich; and that massive subsidy of rich multinational criminal cartels called 'free trade' that lets the products of slave economies compete unfairly with American made products and ship our jobs overseas to slave masters. Our 'rich' in this country really have no loyalty to our country! Witness the big oil companies who in 1973 refused to refuel our Navy during the 1973 Israeli war, and successfully stonewalled Congress as well.

Aug 08, 2011
Painful to hear, been looking forward to jwst for years now but hey, rich people and companies create jobs somehow so they need those tax breaks. Look how well its working so far.......

Yes, look how well govt wastes the money it gets it hands on. Including the JWST.

Aug 08, 2011
My my VD. You prove the point that progressives when they lose an argument resort to name calling, degrading people, and out yelling out right lies in hopes people will believe them while drowning out the truth.

It is people like you who have put this country in its current state. The reason you hate/detest the people involved in the tea party is they know your lies and they are standing up to your progressive bullies. Next year election, if it is held, will bring down the progressives big time.

Aug 08, 2011
ur science budget is controlled by a bunch of schmucks who still think god put the stars there for us to look at?

Schmucks like Ried, Pelosi, Barney Frank, Chuck Schumer.....?

VD and is fellow 'progressives' are experts at denying economic realities.

Aug 09, 2011
Why doesn't NASA test and patent a micro-satellite package and sell it to interested buyers... the result would be a self-sustaining budget(to a better extent), and companies would have a tested and approved workhorse they don't have to break the bank on. a general purpose small-scale satellite would be useful for multiple rides on a larger rocket and open possibillities for multi-satellite imaging. I think Obama was right about the direction of NASA... LOL...

Aug 09, 2011
What is "next years election, IF IT'S HELD" supposed to mean?

Aug 10, 2011
If progressives like VD have their way, they wouldn't have elections where progressives might loose.

Wait, communist countries had elections where 99% of the population voted communist.

I am concerned that a reason might come up that will prevent next years elections, so I pray for the safety of all elected officials esp. Obama, I pray for the safety of the country. I believe we are at the tipping point so many progressive have worked so hard to bring us to, so I pray that no event will occur that would destroy freedom in the USA.

Aug 10, 2011
What is "next years election, IF IT'S HELD" supposed to mean?
FT is an apocalyptic/messianic loonie who prays for death so that he can live...?
I am concerned that a reason might come up that will prevent next years elections
I am concerned that religionists have caused so much potential turmoil that it will soon erupt in this country. London - why not detroit, LA, Atlanta, miami?

We are watching the effects of religionist-mandated overpop erupt throughout the middle east and now europe. Apocalypse is a religionist specialty.

Aug 10, 2011
Otto, my guess is that the rioters in England are progressives, I dare you to show me that they arn't.

Otto, you are a lunatic. I say I pray for the protection for someone and then you say I pray for his death. There is not one person or group that I have ever prayed for or wished for their death or harm.

Have you ever wished harm on someone or group?

Aug 10, 2011
VD and Ron Paul agree.

"Ron Paul warned that recent global unrest can be traced back to inflation-related price jumps for for food and other goods everywhere. He cited conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa and austerity measures in now in place in European nations with generous social welfare systems.

Rep. Paul warned that these crises could easily become more widespread.

Read more: http://dailycalle...UgY0uzCL

And, of course, inflation is caused by 'progressive' govts printing too much money.

Aug 10, 2011
Only 2% of those with PHD's consider themselves conservatives.

"The socialist will, of course, see in this merely a proof that the more intelligent
person is today bound to become a socialist. But this is far from being the necessary or
even the most likely explanation. The main reason for this state of affairs is probably
that, for the exceptionally able man who accepts the present order of society, a
multitude of other avenues to influence and power are open, while to the disaffected and
dissatisfied an intellectual career is the most promising path to both influence and the
power to contribute to the achievement of his ideals."

Aug 10, 2011
"Hayek argues that exceptionally intelligent people who favor the market tend to find opportunities for professional and financial success outside the Academy (i.e., in the business or professional world). Those who are highly intelligent but ill-disposed toward the market are more likely to choose an academic career. For this reason, the universities come to be filled with those intellectuals who were favorably disposed toward socialism from the beginning.

This also leads to the phenomenon that academics don't know much about how markets work, since they have so little experience with them, living as they do in their subsidized ivory towers and protected by academic tenure. "

Aug 11, 2011
JWST is another waste of public money, partially because of its crippled design and short-time service. It requires helium for cooling which gets depleted in just few months - so it's not long-term replacement of Hubble space telescope in any way.


In addition, something strange is killing off pixels at an alarming rate in the detectors. NASA allows no more than 5 per cent of a detector's pixels to be hot by the end of the telescope's five-year space mission. At the present rate, the detectors may exceed this limit before the telescope even leaves the ground...

An independent review panel predicted that JWST is unlikely to launch before September 2015, more than a year later than planned, and will cost $1.5 billion more than expected. So I'm basically convenient with the premature end of this futile mission.

Aug 11, 2011
Thanks for the info Callippo.

VD and Otto, you havent answered my question. Have you ever wished for the harm on someone or group?

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