Space & Planetary Science: May 2005 Archives

Voyager 1 Approaching Edge of the Solar System, NY Times

"Dr. Richard R. Fisher, deputy director of NASA's Earth-Sun division, said last week that he was looking to transfer some money from other areas to the extended missions and that an independent review later this year would prioritize which missions should be continued. A final decision will be made next year, he said."

Editor's note: Word has it that Mike Griffin has already decided not to axe Voyager 1 and 2 funding - yet there has been no public word on that decision.

- Hooray (Again) For Voyager! OK - Now Let's Shut it Off.
- Debate Continues About Shutting Down Interstellar Probes
- NASA To Shut Down Two Interstellar Probes

Finding Support in the Search for E.T., Washington Post

"Some argue that being cast away by the federal government was the best thing that could have happened to SETI, that it has become stronger and more innovative in the private sector than it ever could have as part of a public bureaucracy."

NASA Voyager Spacecraft Enters Solar System's Final Frontier

"NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered the solar system's final frontier. It is entering a vast, turbulent expanse, where the sun's influence ends and the solar wind crashes into the thin gas between stars."

Voyager 1 Enters Final Frontier of Solar System as NASA Considers Termination, Planetary Society

"... said Executive Director Louis D. Friedman. "It isn't just false economy to pull the plug on Voyager -- it is no economy. The cost savings are a pittance, the potential value is enormous."

Editor's note: Great news!! Just as Voyager 1 reaches this impressive milestone, NASA is preparing to shut it off for lack of funds. At least this way, Voyager will go out at the top of its game....

Fear and rambling at NASA, editorial, Nature (subscription)

"Only a confused space agency would consider shutting down the Voyager spacecraft as they approach the uncharted edge of the Solar System. Or cutting the basic research grants that provide the scientific basis for everything it does."

Transcript of Press Conference with NASA Administrator Michael Griffin 18 April 2005

"Voyager may well outrank others whose time to be turned off really has come. So I'm not making a blanket offer that we're going to reach a particular answer on any one mission or that we will treat them all as a block. But we are going to consider it carefully before we turn anything off."

- NASA To Shut Down Two Interstellar Probes, NASA Watch

- Debate Continues About Shutting Down Interstellar Probes, NASA Watch

NASA Budget Crisis Threatens Space Telescopes, Sky and Telescope

"Various hurdles seem destined to delay [the James Webb Space Telescope] launch by at least a year, to no earlier than 2012, and threaten to increase the mission's cost by as much as $1 billion, to more than $3 billion. In response, NASA has asked the project to consider whether a 4-meter telescope with fewer scientific instruments could be flown instead."

Reader comment: "Mike Griffin's testimony has sufficiently rattled the scientific community that two very prominent members have started letter writing campaigns":

Letter writing campaign by Dr. Jeremy Kasdin at Princeton: "With the NASA budget scheduled for markup soon, we wanted to take this opportunity to express our strong support for NASA's vision for planet finding."

Letter writing campaign by Dr. Kulkarni at Caltech: "I do not want to be an alarmist but it is now increasingly clear that a diverse and broad program in space astronomy is giving way to a narrow program. Inactivity on our part is tantamount to a tacit agreement of the plan laid out in Dr. Griffin's testimony."



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