QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Feb 15 2006, 05:51 PM)
Also, Alex, I'm looking for an answer for your question.
Thanks, Emily. I was just curious.
BTW, the February 16, 2006, issue of Nature
has a couple of related items:
EditorialNASA in reverseNature 439
, 764 (2006).
"But the Hansen debacle is just one element of the increasingly adversarial relationship that is developing between NASA and the research community. The sour mood was apparent at last month's American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington DC, when NASA's science chief Mary Cleave told assembled scientists that her most important 'stakeholders' were the White House and Congress. Cleave's real (if unintentional) message was clear: don't expect NASA to advocate research, as we work for other interests.
"Scientists were also dismayed at how fast NASA administrator Mike Griffin reneged on a promise made last autumn not to take 'one thin dime' from space science to address the budget problems of the space shuttle and the space station. At his budget news conference on 6 February, Griffin confessed to doing just that, shifting $2 billion over five years from research to the astronaut programme.
"The cuts to science were deep, and they were decided behind closed doors. Take the research and analysis grants that fund the basic intellectual work underlying NASA's space missions. Previous NASA administrators, recognizing that many space scientists rely on these grants to stay in business, kept the grant programme healthy. But the new budget slashes research grants by 15–25%, and by even more in areas such as astrobiology. And NASA is yet to give details of how deep the cuts actually are."
NewsUS space scientists rage over axed projects
Tony ReichhardtNature 439
, 768-769 (2006).
"Planetary scientist Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Washington says the cuts would devastate US space science — just as physics was jolted when the Superconducting Super Collider was cancelled in 1993, after $2 billion had been spent on it. 'High energy physics never quite recovered from that.'
"Scientists appreciate that NASA's administrator, Mike Griffin, is struggling to balance his books. Griffin explained during the budget press conference that the science cuts were necessary to pay for shuttle flights required to complete the International Space Station. 'It's what we needed to do,' he said regretfully.
"But Jonathan Lunine, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona, Tucson, sums up the view of many when he says he finds it 'puzzling and frustrating' that NASA would divert money from science, widely considered its most productive enterprise, to keep the aged space shuttles flying. 'It seems that NASA is trying to capitalize on its failures rather than its successes,' says Lunine.
"There is fury not just at the size of the cuts, but at how they were decided and announced to the science community. Heidi Hammel, a planetary researcher with the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, says that NASA's advisory council was not operating during much of last year and so 'there was absolutely no way to know how these decisions had been made. It's sort of like a black hole over there.'"