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Space Government NASA The Almighty Buck

NASA Money Crunch Means Trouble For Spitzer Space Telescope 107

Posted by timothy
from the infinite-desires-finite-resources dept.
Scientific American reports that an ongoing budget crunch at NASA may spell doom for the Spitzer Space Telescope, the agency having "taken stock of its fleet of orbiting astrophysics telescopes and decided which to save and which to shutter. Among the winners were the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory and the Kepler planet-hunting telescope, which will begin a modified mission designed to compensate for the recent failure of two of its four stabilizing reaction wheels." Also from the SciAm article: "Until JWST comes online, no other telescope can approach Spitzer’s sensitivity in the range of infrared light it sees. The Senior Review report noted that Spitzer had the largest oversubscription of any NASA mission from 2013 to 2014, meaning that it gets about seven times more applications for observing time from scientists than it can accommodate. ...'The guest observing programs were very powerful because you get people from all over the world proposing ideas that maybe the people on the team wouldn’t have come up with,' [senior review panel chair Ben R.] Oppenheimer says. 'But it’s got to be paid for.'"
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NASA Money Crunch Means Trouble For Spitzer Space Telescope

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  • by thesandbender (911391) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @03:54AM (#47086249)
    The vast majority of US Representatives and Senators do not understand the distinction between the Spitzer and James Webb Missions. Nor should they, there primary job is taking care of local and internal politics here. However:

    If a lot of people call/email/write in saying "Save Spitzer", they'll have their assistants do some research and run the numbers. Unless one of those assistants is a space/astronomy junkie, the result will come back the same for all parties. Spitzer is "up there" and "doing science".... James Webb costs more and is risky (it hasn't even launched yet)... so back Spitzer. It's the politically "safe" move.

    Personally, I don't want to see that happen. If we have to sacrifice Spitzer (and even other projects) to get James Webb... so be it. Astronomy is, after all, all about the very long game.
  • I am not from the US (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fufufang (2603203) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @04:29AM (#47086315)

    I find it extremely sad that the US has recently lost the ability to conduct human spaceflight. I also find it extremely sad that the funding for NASA is still under threat. I don't know what to say really... I hope the future exploration of mankind doesn't depend on countries with questionable human right record like Russia and China.

  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @05:35AM (#47086423)

    I loved COSMOS (ep.11) last week and how the civilizations, like ancient Sumaria, who valued military conquest ended up destroying themselves.

    I thought religion was the drain of these civilizations, not the military. At least in case of Egypt, cutting off the X-box division otherwise known as Karnak, Inc. was one of the first business decisions by their Roman acquirers.

  • by Martin Blank (154261) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @07:55AM (#47086701) Journal

    Are you aware that federal income taxes were collected long before the case (Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust) that basically triggered the adoption of the 16th Amendment? They go back to 1861. The issue in Pollock was not that the income tax was unconstitutional (the income tax on wages was decided unanimously to be constitutional in 1880 and held to be an excise tax in Pollock), but that taxes on income derived from property (rental income, stock dividends, etc.) were direct taxes (as opposed to indirect taxes on wages) and so had to be apportioned by state populations. It then spent the next decade doing contortions trying to fit various taxes challenged after the Pollock ruling as excise taxes so as to not deprive the federal government of revenue from many other sources.

    The 16th Amendment merely allows taxes collected on all income, whatever the source, to not be apportioned by state populations, taking the issue out of the courts' hands completely. Repealing the amendment wouldn't end the income tax or the IRS, but instead justify a larger bureaucracy to ensure that income from direct taxes was apportioned properly, or else a rush to the courts to challenge pretty much every tax and a resumption of the judicial contortions to keep them in place.

    And you really should get up to date on your recent history. While I'm not sad to see Saddam Hussein gone, there were no unconventional weapons found, save for a few old artillery shells buried more than a decade before. He really had dismantled his programs, but tried to make it look like maybe he didn't in case Iran got the bright idea of starting a new fight.

One man's constant is another man's variable. -- A.J. Perlis

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