Sunday :: Mar 14, 2004

Why Did NASA's Head Vote Against Fixing the Hubble Telescope?


by Mary

The Hubble Space Telescope has provide us some of our most beautiful pictures and some of the most powerful evidence of where our earth is within the universe (and, guess what, we are not the center of the universe). This image was published just this month.

lightecho.jpg
Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)

Why is it that when President Bush started to talk about the importance of humans going back to the moon and venturing to Mars, the head of NASA decided that the Hubble Space Telescope was an insignificant and irrelevant experiement; one that we would turn our backs on because it was too dangerous for astronauts to go back and fix? Note that Bush's NASA head is Sean O'Keefe and before coming to NASA was not known for his efforts in science, but for his years of experience under Republican administrations in defense.

To me this is one more example of the tone-deaf administration that has no understanding about why one venture might be worth the risk (fixing the space telescope) because they just don't really care about science or are blind to the sheer awesomeness of the unverse in which we find ourselves. It seems to me that Bush and his administration are only really concerned about being king of the hill. Therefore a mission to the moon to make sure no other country can get a toehold there is perfectly acceptable for risking lives; but something that gains nothing except knowledge about the world which only has value if it is shared is not. It says a lot about how this administration appears to be dead to any human emotions and aspirations except for power and greed.

The Hubble Space Telescope was named for one of the greatest 20th century astronomers, Edwin Hubble, who discovered that the Milky Way was only one of countless galaxies and that the universe was expanding.

Hubble would have been consoled by the fact that his name adorns the Hubble Space Telescope, which probes the cosmos to depths he could not have imagined but would have fully appreciated. Whatever marvels the Hubble telescope reveals, they're all played out on the stage Edwin Hubble first glimpsed from a lonely mountaintop in California.

If he would have been consoled by the telescope's name, today he would be very sad to realize that the telescope has so little value to the bureaucrats and souless leaders who rule the country today. Let's hope that Barbara Mikulski's quest to save the Hubble Space Telescope is successful.

Mary :: 10:18 PM :: Comments (9) :: Digg It!