This is wrong
I was a kid when we landed on the moon. There are no words for the inspiration I felt watching video of our presence on another world. It really did seem as if anything was possible – so much so that it has become part of our language. “If they can send a man to the moon…”
Arthur C. Clarke said recently: “One thing I wouldn’t have predicted about the 20’th century was that we’d go to the moon… and then stop.”
But manned space missions aren’t a lot of bang for the buck scientifically speaking. At this time, robots are a giant bargain – they go out into the cold depths of space, send back mountains of useful data, and they never take coffee breaks. If one of them is destroyed, no one gets all weepy. Except…
One robot has returned more than anyone ever expected: the Hubble Space Telescope. The payoff in hard science has been far out of proportion to what it cost. With a repair mission, it is in a position to keep handing down the bounty for another decade. But the Bush administration has pulled the plug. Nasa is being instructed to concentrate on safely destroying the premier scientific instrument of our time.
A house source says: “It’s going to really upset the Hubble crowd, and that includes some members of Congress.”
The “Hubble crowd?” Yes, Virginia, there are people who just don’t get it. They don’t know the value of hard basic science, and they don’t know a bargain when they see it. They’d rather please the crowd with multi-billion-dollar stunts that return little of scientific value. They’re the opposite of the “Hubble crowd.”
A replacement is planned for the Hubble, but it will not have the Hubble’s wide-spectrum versatility. And the Hubble is already up there, doing a great job.
I don’t want to think that the president of the United States can’t grasp scientific issues. But I don’t know what else to think.
(Thanks to UTI for the link)