Trump Wants To Shoot Dead A Cool Science Telescope Thing Like It's The Alien In Independence Day
Another day, another asinine funding cut decision by the Executive Branch that maybe thinks it's actually the Execution Branch. Not autism programs, not the Special Olympics ... this time. No, this time it's just what some think is the most important project at NASA! Space Force bullshit he wants. Actual beneficial science projects? Not so much.
So, what is the top, most important project at NASA? According to a 2010 survey of astronomers and astrophysicists it's NOT going back to the Moon, like Pence would have you think, or landing on Mars. It's the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), and it's pretty fucking important if you care about advancing our knowledge about space, particularly regarding exoplanets, dark energy, and finding a ton more galaxies out there. It's basically the Hubble on steroids. For all the Debbie Downers out there complaining that the freaking amazing first photo of a black hole is not impressive (DON'T be that asshole!), well this next-gen telescope would shut them up. Same fuckers that probably complain that the wifi on the airplane is too slow.
Anyhoo, how about some details on WFIRST? Yeah, we got you.
The primary mirror is about eight feet in diameter, the same as Hubble's, but will have a field of view 100 times greater than Hubble. Where Hubble found a few galaxies within 500 million years of the Big Bang (that's REALLY early in Universe time, mis amigos!), this badass telescope should find hundreds. Where you've seen fuzzy looking images of exoplanets, now we'll be able to see with much more detail what those ice and gas giants look like. Think iPhone 10 camera versus something that looks like a 7/11 security cam took it and then sent it to 1804.
Right now, it's in the preliminary design and technology completion phase, with a target to launch in the middle of next year. Well, that was the plot of our little story until the "all is lost" Act II beat (screenwriters will get this) happened with Trump's recommended 2020 budget removing all funding for this next-gen telescope.
Ah, but all good stories have a hero and in this story, our cowboy wearing the white hat is Rep. Don Beyer from Virginia's Eighth District. He's leading the charge along with the rest of the House Science Committee to make sure this important project is funded.
Hopefully, this isn't cut from the actual 2020 budget -- and don't forget that any Trump "budget" is just a wishlist from that evil puto. It's different than the cuts he CAN make to departments under him like Education or others headed up by Cabinet secretaries. NASA is an independent agency so Congress approves its budget. Let's hope the guys in white hats win and we all get the happy science ending we deserve.
You know who else's budget Trump can't cut? Wonkette's, because we are funded by YOU! FUND US!
I am a biochemist MexiCAN. I also write screenplays, ever hoping to get one made.
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