Sunday, September 11, 2011

What will happen to the Webb telescope?

The James Webb space telescope is unquestionably a worthy project that will produce great scientific return. But at what cost? Overrun after overrun, schedule slip after schedule slip, has some people, even scientists, thinking of the $8.7B telescope as "the program that ate NASA" as other missions are cut to keep it going. Is it too big, with too much investment sunk in, to allow it to fail? Plus, I'm thinking about those intricate components that will have been in storage for more than a decade by the time it's launched. A mess. How would I rule if I were the President? I'd probably try to finish the job, but I'd hate myself and NASA for having to put up with this.

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