I wrote a few days ago about the shocking bill put forward by the US House of Representatives to slash the budget for NASA’s space program, specifically targeting the James Webb Telescope (which would have been the next, big space telescope, set to replace the Hubble in 2014). While American commentators do their usual tail-chasing about whether to blame president Obama or Bush, the fact is that the US space program is now pretty clearly focused on one target alone: Build a rocket that can lift large loads (for example: A human crew, along with all the equipment necessary to keep them alive. Or the James Webb Telescope) beyond Earth orbit. To pay for this, all possible projects that might need such a rocket, and some more than don’t, are being axed or slashed. So they’ll get their rocket and then get to watch it rust, because it has no purpose! No mission to Mars. No James Webb Telescope. No big projects. So now the entire world suffers from the lack of innovation and research. Thanks guys!
The fight isn’t over just yet – there is still a legislative process to go through, and the bill will still be voted on. But since the most recent attempt to block the bill failed, I think it’s pretty clear how that vote will go, unless something drastic changes. What is needed is for the men and women involved in this decision to know how their electorate feel. And if you are a US citizen, you can write them and call them directly. So please do so! Loudly and repeatedly!