NYT article about science cuts at NASA

By Phil Plait | March 1, 2006 9:18 pm

I know I have been blogging about this topic a lot, but that’s because it’s important. Important objectively, but also important to me. I see the potential for the future of science at NASA draining away, and it needs to stay on people’s minds.

Here is an article in the New York Times — on the eve of a Congressional hearing about science cuts at NASA — talking about the very real pain and trouble this is already causing. On the second page is a comment about NuSTAR, a mission I was working on:

… Fiona Harrison, a physicist at the California Institute of Technology, said she first learned from a news conference that her own Explorer project, an X-ray satellite observatory called NuStar, was being cancelled after several years of development. Dr. Harrison said that she had been invited to reapply in 2008, but that in the meantime she had to tell her graduate student to find another thesis project.

Dr. Harrison said she was thinking of leaving the country or perhaps even the field of astrophysics.

2008 is basically forever in the life of a postdoc, a grad student, even a full-time researcher. The administration at NASA has said that these missions are only delayed, not canceled, and will be started up again. But who will still be there to pick up the pieces?

The Congressional webcast starts at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time.


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