Monday, April 26, 2004

ScienceMissiles in Space
After President Bush's order that NASA redirect its energies toward human exploration of the Moon and Mars, the space agency has drastically shifted its scientific priorities, delaying missions and cutting the projected budgets of programs that it does not perceive as related to the exploration.

Much attention has been focused on the decision to let the Hubble Space Telescope die by canceling the shuttle mission to maintain it. But in the meantime, whole fields of science have been demoted to asterisks on NASA budget projections over the next few years, leading many scientists to fear for the future of science in space.
Dr. Lennard A. Fisk, a professor of space science at the University of Michigan and the chairman of the National Academy of Sciences' Space Studies Board, which helps set priorities for space research, said the emphasis on 'exploration' had thrown priorities out of balance, splitting the fields of science into 'haves' and 'have-nots.'

'Many of us feel this demarcation doesn't make sense,' Dr. Fisk said. 'Exploration is bigger than wandering around the solar system.'
Given that the Preznit wanders aimlessly around our little portion if the solar system it's not surprising that his view of exploration would be limited to that notion as well.


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