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Congress Dumps James Webb Space Telescope 409

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-telescope-for-you dept.
Teancum writes "On the list of items on the upcoming federal budget for 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives has announced they are going to cancel the continued development of the James Webb Space Telescope. While this debate is certainly still very much a preliminary draft, the road ahead for this project is now very much uncertain. In this time of budget cuts, it seems unlikely that this project is going to survive at this time. It certainly will be an uphill battle for fans of this telescope if they want to keep it alive."
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Congress Dumps James Webb Space Telescope

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @08:51PM (#36677784)
    War and Destruction... untouchable
    Knowledge and Progress... Short list for cuts

    Not surprised the least
    • by bmo (77928) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @08:57PM (#36677840)

      It's too bad you posted as AC, because it's true.

      And it's funny how the people who cut this will take pride in how our country is on the so-called cutting-edge of technology and science.

      We're on the fast track to becoming a banana republic.

      --
      BMO

      • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:18PM (#36678034)

        From the appropriations document [house.gov]:

        National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – NASA is funded at $16.8 billion in the bill, which is $1.6 billion below last year’s level and $1.9 billion below the President’s request. This funding includes:

                $3.65 billion for Space Exploration which is $152 million below last year. This includes funding above the request for NASA to meet Congressionally mandated program deadlines for the newly authorized crew vehicle and launch system.
                $4.1 billion for Space Operations which is $1.4 billion below last year’s level. The legislation will continue the closeout of the Space Shuttle program for a savings of $1 billion.
                $4.5 billion for NASA Science programs, which is $431 million below last year’s level. The bill also terminates funding for the James Webb Space Telescope, which is billions of dollars over budget and plagued by poor management.

        Meanwhile, in the same document:

        Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) – The bill provides $2.7 billion for the PTO – the full requested level. This funding is equal to the estimated amount of fees to be collected by the PTO during fiscal year 2012, and is an increase of $588 million or 28% above last year’s level. The bill also includes language that allows PTO to keep and use any fees in excess of the estimated collected amount, subject to standard Congressional approval, and includes language requiring PTO to report on efforts to reduce the patent application backlog

        (Bolding is mine)

        Stop a space telescope, cut back NASA funds while retiring a space shuttle... increase patent office funding... This is just a normal day in the office chaps...

        • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:34PM (#36678184) Homepage Journal

          Yep. Other winners in this budget include the International Trade Administration, FBI, DEA, and the Bureau of Prisons. Other losers include NSF, NIST, NOAA, the Economic Development Administration, and programs to aid state and local law enforcement. You can draw your own conclusions about what set of priorities that reflects ...

          • if I wasn't looking, I'd swear there was a republican in office.

            • Congress writes the budget and sends it to the White House, the White House approves or rejects. If it is rejected, Congress can overrule the President's veto.

              Sucks when life is complicated, isn't it?

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                the leader's job is to LEAD.

                see any of that?

                I don't. I see same-old same-old. he is NOT standing up for his so-called principles.

                you can say its the system but if the president can't accomplish his goals, I blame HIM. backroom deals, etc - just make it happen.

                but he does not. he's useless. /dev/null would be as effective.

            • This is the budget submitted by Congress, which by the Constitution must originate in the House, which is run by Republicans. Parent mentions that the President's requests were different.

            • by Billly Gates (198444) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @01:11AM (#36679676) Journal

              The problem is the republicans wont budge. They are the ones who all of the sudden decided agaisnt' raising the ceiling. For reference the ceiling has been raised almost 50 times in order to keep up with inflation. With the recovery act this year the number is much much higher than normal and the republicans are seizing on it. ... correction the Tea Party is seizing it. When Bush expanded government the Tea Party didn't even exist. When somone with a D next to their name comes into office all of the sudden this grass movement appears. Give me a break. Half the bailout was designed by Paulson under Bush, not Obama.

              Either way the intended effect is done and we are going to create an artificial austerity measure on purpose rather than necessity to make sure another R is in the White House next year regardless of America's bond rating going into the toilet and another 3,000 point crash. Sigh

              For the record I am in favor of some of this deficit reduction and think government is too large. I just hate the slimy politics of this with lies and deceptions. Please republicans raise the darn taxes if you are going to walk the walk on the upper class and save 3.8 trillion. It makes me mad as the Tea Party is not dictating Obama's policies as well as the Republicans do not want to lose their seats to this small minority crowd who is active in the primaries.

        • by Tom9729 (1134127)

          Isn't it a common complaint on /. that the PTO is understaffed and underfunded, hence all of the bogus patents that get granted?

          • by 0123456 (636235)

            Isn't it a common complaint on /. that the PTO is understaffed and underfunded, hence all of the bogus patents that get granted?

            No.

            The complaint is that the PTO is being funded, hence all of the bogus patents that get granted. You'd see celebrations here if the funding was cut to zero.

        • by hawguy (1600213) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @10:38PM (#36678694)

          Except that:

          Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) – The bill provides $2.7 billion for the PTO – the full requested level. This funding is equal to the estimated amount of fees to be collected by the PTO during fiscal year 2012, and is an increase of $588 million or 28% above last year’s level. The bill also includes language that allows PTO to keep and use any fees in excess of the estimated collected amount, subject to standard Congressional approval, and includes language requiring PTO to report on efforts to reduce the patent application backlog

          (Bolding is mine).

          The USPTO funds itself from fees it collects.

      • by Shihar (153932) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:58PM (#36678374)

        I don't disagree that there is other shit that needs cutting. Do we REALLY need a military that can stomp two of any other conventional armies on their own land at once? I personally think not. Self defense the ability to act WITH others in the world community is more than enough for me. I don't think the US needs a military designed to fight China and Russia on their own shores, considering that the only possible end game to that kind of 'victory' are a few thousand nuclear missiles up the arse.

        That said... the Jame's Webb telescope, while being an awesome piece of potential science, is a poster child for being a catastrofuck of poor planning and budgeting. They are going to miss both their launch data AND the cost by at least a 4X factor. Maybe canceling a few of these messes will convince people not to write rosy prediction of cost and time. Firing all of the management involves, killing the project, and proposing a realistic budget and timing is hardly the worst fate that cold befall NASA.

        Now if only we could fire all of the congressmen shit heads who propose their own unrealistic budgets on absurd timetables...

    • by Solandri (704621) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:56PM (#36678354)
      Defense spending is hardly untouchable. Defense is about the only part of the Federal budget which has been consistently decreasing over the last 50 years [cbo.gov] as a percentage of GDP. It's ticked up a bit since 9/11, but is still lower than during Reagan's build-up in the 1980s, and nowhere near as high as during the Vietnam War.

      The thing that's threatening to bust the budget is entitlements. Medicare and Medicaid speciically [cbo.gov]. Just the growth predicted for entitlements between now and 2035 will exceed the entire defense budget. Go read the CBO's long-term outlooks [cbo.gov] if you don't believe me. I'm not saying entitlements have to go, but any budget plan which refuses to change entitlements is doomed to fail before it even starts.
      • by dachshund (300733) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @11:53PM (#36679256)

        The thing that's threatening to bust the budget is entitlements. Medicare and Medicaid speciically. Just the growth predicted for entitlements between now and 2035 will exceed the entire defense budget. Go read the CBO's long-term outlooks if you don't believe me. I'm not saying entitlements have to go, but any budget plan which refuses to change entitlements is doomed to fail before it even starts.

        Healthcare cost growth is a huge long-term problem, and it's one we're going to need to address. But it has precisely nothing to do with what we spend in 2012, 2013, 2014, etc.

        Military spending, on the other hand, really is great issue to address in the yearly budget. We can decide in 2011 how many overseas wars we should be fighting over the next fiscal year. We can decide in 2012 how much we want to spend in 2013, and so on.

        As best I can tell, the reason we spend so much time discussing "entitlements" is because politicians don't want to discuss issues that we can address today. So instead we have a stupid and fruitless conversation about problems that we're not facing yet. The inevitable outcome is that nobody wants to put their neck on the line to cut these programs, and all the serious decisions fly under the radar.

        Which, when you think about it, is the entire point.

        There's a pretty simple way to deal with Medicare spending in the future (note: it's not "entitlements" --- Social Security does not share Medicare's cost growth). Basically, leave it to the future. Oh sure, do what smart things we can do now to make healthcare costs grow less quickly. But when the costs themselves become unmanageable, let the voters and representatives of that time deal with it. Their problem, their decision. Cutting Medicare only requires one Congressional vote, it's not magic.

        If they can afford Medicare as it is now, good for them. If they can't, they'll have no choice but to cut it. That'll be unpopular, but in that case it'll also be necessary which means it'll happen.

        • by Rich0 (548339) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @08:22AM (#36681480) Homepage

          But when the costs themselves become unmanageable, let the voters and representatives of that time deal with it. Their problem, their decision. Cutting Medicare only requires one Congressional vote, it's not magic.

          If they can afford Medicare as it is now, good for them. If they can't, they'll have no choice but to cut it. That'll be unpopular, but in that case it'll also be necessary which means it'll happen.

          Well, if I'm not going to get Medicare in 30 years, why not just cut it today so that I can stop paying all those taxes for the next 30 years? If it will work for me to pay taxes for the next 30 years and not collect a dime, then it will work fine for the previous generation to do the same. Besides, we don't need to cut it so much as we need to reform it (raise retirement age, only spend money where we have clinically proven results, etc).

          On the other hand, US foreign policy today will impact the kind of world I live in 30 years from now. I don't see a need to be as engaged overseas as we have been, but the fact is that an army is actually one of those things that the Federal Government was created for in the first place.

      • by bored (40072)

        Generally your are correct, but the first picture is totally misleading. Three things.

        First, medicare/medicaid are a serious problem, 20 years from now. That said, its nothing that cannot be fixed with a few tweaks to the funding and eligibility models. The fundamental problem is that the government pays for services at whatever rate the medical community claims they are worth. Naturally, this an under damped response curve which will do what they always do, break the system. Furthermore, tweaking the bene

      • by Savantissimo (893682) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @01:15AM (#36679686) Journal

        It's ridiculous to measure military spending as a percent of GDP. The necessary expenses do not scale with GDP. We aren't facing any real military threats; the BS "terrorism" scare was just a marketing campaign to keep the gravy train rolling. We don't need the expenditures of the cold war today, yet we're spending much more in level dollar terms. We could cut $200B out of the DoD budget tomorrow and still be spending more than in the late 90s or the 70s. The accumulated interest on old military expenditures and increase in the veterans affairs budget due to idiotic wars of choice almost doubles the official budget, to over $1.1trillion a year, even before counting DHS, State Dept., DoE, etc. We're borrowing all that money, including the interest payments. Social Security and Medicare, on the other hand, pay for themselves, and have money left over to lend to the rest of the government. They'd have more but the rich don't pay Social Security tax on most of their income, and Medicare is forbidden from negotiating volume discounts with the pharmaceutical companies.

        We're going to spend $2.8 billion this year on the V-22 Osprey, which is a complete dog, unreliable, unmaintainable, dangerous. We're going to spend over $10 billion this year on idiotic, unworkable, destabilizing ballistic missile defense schemes. We're going to spend more on fucking air-conditioning for the Iraq and Afghanistan fiascos than the entire NASA budget. And it's worse than completely useless- it soaks up engineering talent, manufacturing capacity and materials and produces nothing of value - it actually destroys value at home and abroad by killing and maiming people and destroying property. It's fucking psychotic.

    • by FleaPlus (6935) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @11:54PM (#36679260) Journal

      You don't even need to look outside NASA to see ridiculous spending to compare to. The same House appropriations bill with the $431M JWST cut includes $2B for the Space Launch System (SLS) and $1B for the Orion/MPCV capsule. The SLS is basically Congress's mandate to NASA to build a heavy-lift rocket out of Shuttle-legacy components capable of competing with SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket. The $2B is only for the first year of SLS funding, for a rocket which isn't expected to have its first launch until 2017 or later. Mind that this is for a rocket that NASA didn't even want in the first place.

    • by jklovanc (1603149) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @12:52AM (#36679596)

      I think the issue is that if one can not protect the sovereignty of a country then its science is a moot point. The country will soon be owned or destroyed by someone else.

      War/Destruction and Knowledge/Progress are not mutually exclusive. Look at the advances in aircraft during WW2. We went from biplanes to jet planes in a scant ten years. More recently Kevlar and composites that are used in manufacturing were originally researched for military use.

  • whack! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This was a way cool project that could have led us towards life in the distant cosmos! Maybe its because were in for a much bigger revelation... (FINGERS CROSSED, and by revelation I don't mean that in a religious sense)... More than likely though their probably just rerouting the funding to war crime projects....

  • Budget problems (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trillan (597339) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @08:57PM (#36677838) Homepage Journal

    From Wikipedia:
    "In June 2011, it was reported that the Webb telescope will cost at least four times more than originally proposed, and launch at least seven years late. Initial budget estimates were that the observatory would cost $1.6 billion and launch in 2011. NASA has now scheduled the telescope for a 2018 launch, though outside analysts suggest the flight could slip past 2020. The latest estimated price tag for the telescope is now $6.8 billion."

    Although a loss for science, this would seem to be more accurately blamed on poor management and budgeting. Perhaps a smaller, better managed project will rise from the ashes.

    • Re:Budget problems (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:04PM (#36677916)

      The panel noted that the project was in good shape technically, but that NASA had not budgeted enough for the project initially. In other words, it would have cost less if they'd put more in up front and completed it on schedule. This is why you shouldn't let penny-pinchers be in charge of cost estimates (or anything, for that matter). If they weren't willing to commit sufficient funds to the project, they shouldn't have done it at all.

      • The panel noted that the project was in good shape technically, but that NASA had not budgeted enough for the project initially. In other words, it would have cost less if they'd put more in up front and completed it on schedule. This is why you shouldn't let penny-pinchers be in charge of cost estimates (or anything, for that matter). If they weren't willing to commit sufficient funds to the project, they shouldn't have done it at all.

        I concur completely. The rule in aerospace projects, whether civilian or military, is lowball up-front estimates (helps the project get funded) inevitably followed by cost and schedule overruns. Check the F35 as one example. C&S inflation comes from a variety of sources, but the initial lowballing is a major contributor. Good work costs real money. (And yeah, I know real money doesn't guarantee good work.)

      • Easier to ask for forgiveness (and for cost overruns to be covered) than for permission.
      • by Burdell (228580)

        The same was true of the Constellation project. It was only behind schedule and over budget because the pointy-heads didn't listen to the engineers when setting up the project. From what I understand from some people involved in the planning meetings, it was basically on the schedule they said they needed and possibly even a little under the budget at that point that they said the needed.

        • Re:Budget problems (Score:4, Interesting)

          by garyebickford (222422) <gar37bic@gmail.DALIcom minus painter> on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @10:17PM (#36678512)

          Boy, been there, done that, burned the t-shirt. As a VP R&D in a startup a long time ago (early 1990s) I once spent two months with my software manager doing a complete system plan for a complete rewrite, rearchitecture and platform change (including converting from several languages to C), down to the function level, with good estimates of the time it would take to do every piece of it. This was a product with several hundred thousand lines of code in FORTRAN, Pascal, Assembler of various sorts, maybe some C, and microcode for a custom image processor. It came down to six engineers and about two years. We got approval for that project plan at the board meeting.

          Then one of the engineers mentioned to the head of sales that he thought we would 'have an image on the screen' (meaning we would have figured out how to write a toy/test program to paint a window) in about two months.

          Within a few days, the sales guy had promised delivery of two systems in ... you guessed it ... two months, to GE. Oh, and by the way - the company didn't have the cash flow to hire more engineers, so we only had two guys available to the project. As it happened, I quit a week or so later for other reasons. According to what I was told later, by conspiring with the users at GE who agreed to receive the boxes, they managed to ship two completely non-functioning systems to GE, and spent the next two years 'fixing' it while the folks at GE got more and more pissed. I think GE finally sued them. After numerous equally dicey escapades, the company got forced into bankruptcy.

      • by jklovanc (1603149)

        This is why you shouldn't let penny-pinchers be in charge of cost estimates (or anything, for that matter). If they weren't willing to commit sufficient funds to the project, they shouldn't have done it at all.

        It is just as likely that the scientists and engineers involved did not provide accurate cost estimates to the "penny-pinchers" so that the project would get approved. Management can only act on the information they are given. I can see the conversation now:
        Management: How much do you think it will cost?
        Engineers: $4B
        Management: I am not sure we could get that approved. Are there ways to trim things and decrease the costs? How about you try and decrease the costs.
        Later;
        Management: New budget complete? How m

      • by trout007 (975317)

        To steal a line from "From the Earth to the Moon". Budgets and schedules are based on what has been done before. That works great for paving a highway or building a building. Not as good when you are building a new aircraft or satellite. It is almost entirely useless when building something that has never been tried before like a 6.5 m diameter 7 segment folding infrared space telescope.

        • Re:Budget problems (Score:4, Informative)

          by robot256 (1635039) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @11:08PM (#36678958)
          Exactly right. I was involved in one of the instruments on JWST, and we had no end of trouble because half the engineering work was done before they had even done the research to see if it would work at all. After they did figure out how to make it work, it turned out the engineering was done to essentially nonsense specs. That took a lot of jury-rigging and overtime to deliver, just one of many examples I'm sure.
    • Re:Budget problems (Score:5, Informative)

      by Idarubicin (579475) <allsquiet@ho[ ]il.com ['tma' in gap]> on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:43PM (#36678266) Journal

      Although a loss for science, this would seem to be more accurately blamed on poor management and budgeting. Perhaps a smaller, better managed project will rise from the ashes.

      This isn't exactly a surprise. The only way NASA can get funding is to promise the moon (usually figuratively, though occasionally literally) on an implausible shoestring budget, and then hope that the real costs later on don't cause management to scupper an already-in-progress high-profile project. This is a pretty common strategy in government funded technology and research projects, and it's something that's as old as NASA.

      The Mercury program came in at roughly double its original estimated price.

      The Air Force anticipated in 1958 that a lunar program would cost $1.5 billion and be complete by the end of 1965. In 1961, NASA's experts said they could do the job by 1967, at a cost of $7 billion. By the time Neil Armstrong took his one small step, it was 1969, and the program had rung up a price tag of about $25 billion (in 1960s dollars).

      Looking at the last space telescope project, the Hubble was originally budgeted at $400 million. It cost $2.5 billion by launch time, and total program costs to date run to between $4.5 and $6 billion.

      This problem isn't unique to NASA. Technology development programs in the military offer some particularly good examples. Lockheed completed their contract for the F-22 Raptor more than two years and ten billion dollars behind schedule--but they still received more than $800 million in performance awards for their work.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Lets compare that to the F-22 "Raptor".... supposed to cost about $80 million per plane, the "fly away cost" per plane on last delivery was about $165 million. Years late for initial delivery, the total program cost was over $65 billion......

      Oh, and as of this writing, ALL OF THEM ARE GROUNDED due to problems with their oxygen generators..... not a single plane is flying right now.

      That is a load of crap, foisted on the American taxpayer by the defense-industrial complex.

  • by buback (144189) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @08:58PM (#36677862)

    Seriously, I wonder how much money we can get donated to keep this going. in retrospect, I'd gladly have paid what i could for the Hubble, and the repair/upgrade missions, out of my own pocket.

    • by Trillan (597339)

      Well, they're currently $5 billion over budget and 10 years behind schedule. Still think all they need is a bit more money? :)

      It's a good idea, but it's clearly being mismanaged.

  • Absurd (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eln (21727) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @08:58PM (#36677864) Homepage
    Cutting this project will do basically nothing to help the deficit situation. Until they start seriously talking about slashing defense spending, drastically reforming Medicare and Social Security, AND raising taxes, it's obvious they're just playing politics with no intention of doing anything to fix the problem. They could cut this and everything else in the discretionary non-defense budget and still run a huge deficit.
    • Re:Absurd (Score:4, Insightful)

      by NiceGeek (126629) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:03PM (#36677908)

      If you think the Repubs are going to do any of that, you're dreaming. They're busy pandering.

      • If you think the Repubs are going to do any of that, you're dreaming. They're busy pandering.

        If you think Dems are going to let anyone so much as touch Medicare or Social Security, you are also dreaming.

        Money spent today buys votes whether it's a tax cut or an entitlement payment.

    • by peragrin (659227)

      it is the And Raising taxes part that they always seem to forget. Or if they do do it all, they seem to forget the next step entirely. the paying down debt before cutting taxes back.

      • Re:Absurd (Score:5, Insightful)

        by artor3 (1344997) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:34PM (#36678182)

        They don't "forget" to raise taxes. The Republicans have instituted a very well-crafted and carefully executed plan for the past decade or so. They pass a massive tax cut to wipe out the surplus. They then drive us deep into debt with wars and the unfunded Medicare expansion. Next, they use that debt as an excuse to eliminate Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security. Then they take the savings, and insist the way to grow the economy is with more tax cuts. See where this is going?

        The end result is a society with no safety net to support the ~250 million serfs, who must therefore work for whatever wages their lords are willing to pay, and die in the streets when they are no longer of use. Meanwhile, those lords pay no taxes. The government, with no revenue, cannot regulate the lords to keep them from further abusing their serfs. We're on a fast track to return to the Gilded Age. This is not an accident.

        • The surplus was gone before the tax cuts were instituted. The tech bubble burst that started in 2000 didn't help. 9/11 didn't help (estimates put direct and indirect costs of 9/11 - just what the terrorists did, not including our military/intelligence response - in the hundreds of billions of dollars, which all reduced government income). Then we had the housing market bubble bursts that we're still not through. The housing market problems were largely caused by government policies created in the 1990s. It
    • It is true that within budget cutting they are being stupid (political) about it and probably more interesting in the number of programs they can claim they killed because that makes a nice talking point.

      The REALITY is that all this spending could continue at this level if we funded it. We have less economy to produce the revenue and that is a HUGE reason for the recent shortfalls -- its not merely wasteful spending (which is a big factor) but the other HUGE issue is going largely ignored. The banksters cau

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In the future, when people look back at our age, they will see things as Hubble, and (hopefully) the James Webb telescope as some of the true wonders of our time. INNA (I am not American), but where has the USA's sense of wonder gone?. Truely, the USA needs to invest in things like this great telescope. They can afford not to build another (half a?) stealth fighter, surely.

  • Mixed Feelings (Score:5, Informative)

    by notKevinJohn (2218940) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:06PM (#36677944)
    As someone who works on several NASA science mission directorate missions, I have to say I have mixed feelings about this. James Webb was going to be an amazing successor to Hubble, and would have been very popular with the general public as well as with scientists. However, it is way way over budget, and eating the budgets of other worthy science missions, and maybe there is something to be said for cutting missions who can't keep on budget. I was really looking forward to James Webb though, even if it was the 800lb gorilla of the science mission directorate.
    • Look, I really REALLY love NASA's unmanned science programs and would think it would be a crying shame if they cut the JWST at this point but what is wrong with the budgeting process if they get it off by a factor of four? (so I've heard). Should they first launch a small prototype test mission to evaluate the technologies or something? Or were they putting the wrong people in charge of budgeting? Are they scientists who may be brilliant in their fields but not skilled at project forecasting or bureaucra

    • by forand (530402)
      The problem with what you are saying is that, while it is true JWST took funds from other worthy projects, those funds will NOT be available for other worthy projects after JWST is cut. This is just taking money out of astrophysical research.

      It should also be noted that funding agencies essentially insist that cost estimates be understated so they can more easily be sold to the purse holders. This is a great detriment to science in the long run but the situation as it stands. Finally expecting a space t
  • Hah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by beadfulthings (975812) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:10PM (#36677972) Journal

    What do we need with a space telescope or space exploration program anyway? Our children are being groomed to be the poorly fed, poorly housed, poorly educated drones of the likes of of the Koch Brothers--or worse, cannon fodder in the next forever war undertaken to line the pockets of the defense contractors. Other countries will gladly assume the exploration of frontiers and the advancement of knowledge while our kids get to learn about creation science.

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      How is this modded insightful? The cost of the entire telescope project, even with the massive cost overruns and across eight years, couldn't pay for even a significant fraction of California's education budget for one year.

      It's amazing how ignorant drivel (we have no food? Really?) gets modded up by taking a jab at the Koch brothers, as if they were the Illuminati or something, sitting on the board of every school district around the country.

      If you don't think $10,000 per student is enough money, you're de

  • It's the superconducting supercollider all over again (just with fewer Texans shooting it.) Disappointing in the extreme.
  • by jrivar59 (146428) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:15PM (#36678008)

    This This Astronomy Cast [astronomycast.com] podcast episode does a great job of explaining why infrared astronomy is important, and the role that the JWST will (would have?) played in discovery.

  • by TheRedDuke (1734262) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:19PM (#36678040)
    ...because we're (indirectly) building this instead:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Gerald_R._Ford_(CVN-78) [wikipedia.org]
    Military Industrial Complex FTW!
    • Gerald R. Ford is slated to replace the current USS Enterprise, ending her then 50-plus years of active service

      Is it just me or are there some eerie symbolic coincidences with that sentence?

      • Enterprise is the name of a famous spacecraft
      • Ford was president at the end of the Apollo program
      • Military project (named Ford) is getting precedence over space projects, including 50+ years of manned space flight
    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      And that is just perfect proof of how our country has been sold, lock, stock, and barrel, to the MIC. How many carriers are we up to now? 11? And frankly even though she is 51 years old the ship the Ford is supposed to replace, the Enterprise, still does her job and frankly could probably do that job another 20 years.

      No the Ford and the F35 are just handouts by another name. look at the F35, how many times has its budget been blown? How far behind is it now? And the sad part is the stupid thing is like buil

  • to the WalMart-Exxon-Verizon Space Telescope. That way it'll have all the funding it needs.
  • Everyone needs to calm down and learn how politics works. This is a "give-away" the republicans threw in the mix... the price-tag is relatively small, but public interest is high. So when they haggle, the democrats can claim they saved the program. The democrats constituents will think its a big win while the republicans constituents could care less. How many times did congress/NASA propose cutting funding to Hubble? I lost count myself.
  • by jonwil (467024) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @09:59PM (#36678382)

    How about cutting things from the budget that will ACTUALLY HELP SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

    Cutting the space telescope (with its tiny budget) wont make any difference.

    If you want to fix the US economy and the US debt problem, cut where it will help. Cut the billions and billions of dollars spent on subsidies to the airlines, the big agribusiness companies, the coal industry, the oil industry, the media companies, the defence industry etc.

What ever you want is going to cost a little more than it is worth. -- The Second Law Of Thermodynamics

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