Sunday, March 05, 2006

Wesley Huntress' Testimony to Congress on the new NASA Budget

The consequences of these unprecedented reductions would be to cripple the ability of NASA's science enterprise to create the next generation flight missions and worse of all it will short-circuit the careers of many young scientists. Precisely the opposite of what this country needs to remain competitive.

And all these cuts are immediate – today, in the 2006 budget year. Grants are to be reduced immediately, dimming the prospects of many young, motivated students now.

What kind of message is that to the best and brightest of American's hopes for a rich technological future? And if there is to be any science at all in human space flight to the Moon and beyond, it needs to come from these young people.

The bottom line is that the future of our Nation's solar system exploration enterprise has been mortgaged. The momentum of current mission development will carry it for about two years, and then the bottom begins to fall. We must sustain the science and technology that will afford us a new future when we get there two years from now.

P.S. I looked into the science budget part of NASA and here is what is being cancelled or not funded:
Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer
The Keck Interferometer outlying telescopes
Terrestial Planet Finder
SOFIA (funding stopped until "review" is completed)
Europa Orbiter
NuSTAR (an X-ray telescope)
Mars Sample Return

Others I have heard rumors but unable to confirm. This list doesn't include the Earth Science missions, which amazingly have direct repercussions on today's political climate, like answering questions about climate change.

P.P.S. What's really disingenuous is Dawn is fully listed as being funded in the full budget and mentioned that it's under review. If they then later say it's cancelled, Congress can be none the wiser. NASA's 2007 budget. What else is cancelled but listed in the budget?

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