Please Manage Your Own Death March 2, 2006Posted by gordonwatts in politics.
An article will be published tomorrow in the NYTimes on the NASA budget:
Some of the most highly promoted missions on NASA’s scientific agenda would be postponed indefinitely or perhaps even canceled under the agency’s new budget, despite its administrator’s vow to Congress six months ago that not “one thin dime” would be taken from space science to pay for President Bush’s plan to send astronauts to the Moon and Mars.
Basically, what is going on is an unfunded mandate. This story has been developing for several years now, and it isn’t really a big surprise. The NASA budget can be divided into tow main categories: science (WMAP, GLAST, etc.) and maned missions (shuttle, mars, etc.).
The president has said “we will go to Mars” but has not increased NASA’s budget. This is a huge and very expensive proposition. It is hard to argue it from the science perspective (robots can do the job just as well and more cheaply). Because there is no budget increase, and the President has said “we will do Mars”, something will have to give. The pure science missions bear the brunt.
I’m sure you can look at other places on the web to see exactly how important WMAP results are, or many of the science missions from NASA. What got to me in this article was the very end:
Last year NASA dismantled a longstanding network of scientific advisory committees, and while a new network is in the works, it is not yet in place.
As a result, “scientists feel very much left out of this process,” Dr. Beichman said. “You could have involved the community and said, ‘Here’s what we have to do.’ ”
He added, “In the end, even scientists can be responsible.”
Right! When the politicians are totally irresponsible!? And are scientists usually not responsible!?? This sort of thing really pisses me off. I completely understand where Dr. Beichman is coming from, but sheesh, doesn’t he (and others) just want to yell at the top of their lungs in frustration? And be a little less than responsible for once!?
Ok. I’m done for now. 🙂 Sorry about the outburst.