The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Friday, January 21, 2005

MARS, BITCHES!

It's official: Bush is ditching the Hubble, the one thing NASA has that actually works:
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 deorbiting the popular spacecraft at the end of its life, according to government and industry sources.

NASA is debating when and how to announce the change of plans. Sources told Space News that outgoing NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe likely will make the announcement Feb. 7 during the public presentation of the space agency’s 2006 budget request.

That budget request, according to government and industry sources, will not include any money for Hubble servicing but will include some money for a mission to attach a propulsion module to Hubble needed to deorbit the spacecraft safely with a controlled re-entry into the Pacific Ocean. NASA would not need to launch such a mission before the end of the decade to guide the massive telescope safely into the ocean.

Sources said O’Keefe received his marching orders on Hubble Jan. 13 during a meeting with White House officials to finalize the agency’s 2006 budget request. With both robotic and shuttle-based servicing options expected to cost well in excess of $1 billion, sources said, NASA was told it simply could not afford to save Hubble given everything else NASA has on its agenda, including preparing the shuttle fleet to fly again.
Curious, the old space shuttle fleet lives on, yet a telescope that gives us irrefutable evidence that the universe is billions of years old gets the boot? The slow creep toward theocracy continues!

The linked article features an impressive slide show of the better images captured by the Hubble over the years, definitely worth a look.

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