Friday, January 21, 2005

Bush Eliminates Hubble Servicing Mission

The Hubble Space Telescope, after a rocky start, has been one of the most fantastically successful and longest-lived scientific missions ever run by NASA. But, like any piece of technology, it requires periodic servicing to remain in proper working order. In the wake of the Columbia disaster, a controversial decision was made to send up a robotic servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope instead of a human servicing mission. Outgoing NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe (a Bush political appointee who, despite coming from a bean-counter background rather than a scientific manager background, managed to do a fairly decent job) spoke recently of his confidence that the decision to fly a robotic servicing mission was the correct one.

Well, not no more, as they say. This from NASA Watch:

Hubble Trouble (Again)
Sources:Hubble servicing mission cut from budget,

"The White House has eliminated funding for a mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope from its 2006 budget request and directed NASA to focus solely on de-orbiting the popular spacecraft at the end of its life, according to government and industry sources."

Statement of Senator Mikulski on Neccessity of Hubble Servicing Mission: "It is essential that we have a safe and reliable servicing mission to Hubble that is consistent with the Gehman Commission and the National Academy of Sciences. I will continue to advocate for this mission: I led the fight to add $300 million to NASA’s budget last year for a Hubble servicing mission, and I plan to lead the fight again this year. This is what the American people expect and deserve."

Update: Just heard on NBC Nightly News 7:00 PM EST: "A senior Administration official confirms an Internet report" that the budget will not contain funds necessary to rescue Hubble Space Telescope.

Goodness, the Bush administration just couldn't wait, could they? Well, science - at least this sort of science - doesn't have much to do with our plans for global conquest - I mean, our plans to bring liberty and democracy to nations throughout the world. Hey, all you people holding your breath waiting for Bush to follow through with his grand scheme to land astronauts on Mars? You might want to do a little reality check.

Yet another illustration of why re-electing this moron was a colossal error. Thanks, 51% of the voters.

It's too late to not elect Bush, but if you give a damn about the amazing stuff coming from Hubble, you should do what you can. Start by going to the Save The Hubble site and signing the petition. Please. Then contact your Senator and make your feelings known. In the face of the Bush Administration it seems like a futile effort - but, dammit, we can't simply give up.


Chloe said...

This is a sin.

Man, it brings back memories to a time I had cable simply because I didn't want to live without the NASA Channel, and I diligently watched most of Story Musgrave's mission repairing Hubble.

Those were the days.

D.B. Echo said...

I've met Story Musgrave. He's an odd, fascinating, brilliant man. I have a DVD of him called "A Space Story." He, too was retired for political reasons...but I do not wish to speak ill of John Glenn.

Yes, this sort of thing is obscene, but entirely predictable. I sure the Republi-Cons will come up with some sort of rationalization for why it was necessary. Well, shee-ut, maybe Hubble can get used as a target in an ICBM defense test. It's been done before, with other science satellites that were suddenly declared "obsolete."

Chloe said...

OH my god, you met my hero??? hehe.
Where? Do you have photos??
Under what circumstances did you meet him?

At any rate, he's the same age as my mother (or thereabouts), so I think he would've retired from EVA missions soon anyway.

He does have a certain charisma.
I always thought it a bit funny that his stalker was the same woman who stalked David Letterman. I could see no direct correlation, other than I liked them both too. (Though I wouldn't have been hiding behind any trees in either of their neighborhoods to watch them, that's just mental. haha.)

Anonymous said...

Are you surprised dude?
you have to see Black Bush on the chapelle show.

it's at the bottom
M-A-R-S bitches!

D.B. Echo said...

Chloe, I dug up my Story Musgrave photos from when I randomly saw him speaking at the "Astronaut Encounter" at the Kennedy Space Center in November 2000. I'll try to work up a post that includes those....but if you want a sneak preview, send me an address where I can e-mail them! (My address is in the upper left column, under my picture.)

D.B. Echo said...

Upper RIGHT, I mean. Dammit.