Because of a $10 million shortfall in its astrophysics budget, NASA is weighing the fate of nine operating space telescopes.


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Because of a $10 million shortfall in its astrophysics budget, NASA is weighing the fate of nine operating space telescopes.

Six of the projects vying for extended funding are U.S.-based. Three are overseen by international space agencies and have U.S. partners.

The NASA missions are: the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope; the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array X-ray observatory; the infrared Spitzer Space Telescope; the Swift Telescope, which tracks gamma-ray bursts; a proposed Kepler space telescope follow-on mission known as K2; and the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, which was brought out of hibernation last year to help search for asteroids on a collision course with Earth.

Also in the running are two European Space Agency missions, XMM-Newton — an X-ray observatory — and Planck, which studied relic radiation from the Big Bang. Planck was decommissioned in October, but its data analysis program continues.

The final contender is Japan’s Suzaku X-ray telescope.

Share

3 comments

  • PeterF

    Isn’t this the same NASA that spent a million dollars developing a zero gravity pen while the Russians solved the same problem by using a pencil?

  • wodun

    If they can’t analyze the data, they should just keep the satellites powered on and sending data back to be stored. It’s not like it will get moldy sitting there waiting for someone to dig through it. Storage of data should be rather trivial at this point and if they need help, maybe the NSA will show them how to store mass amounts of data efficiently.

    Shutting these things down is like saying, “I am going to be away from the phone so I am going to turn off the answering machines since I wont be there to listen to it.”

  • Pzatchok

    Can’t Obama just ask some of his liberal friends to donate a little?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *