07 January 2006

Not to say "I told you so," but...

I told you so:
Not only will a future administration have to kill human space exploration when it becomes clear we're pissing away billions of dollars for no good reason, but in the meantime they're going to have to pretend they aren't just charging it to the national debt, and that means delaying, scaling back, or abandoning useful parts of the space program.
In fact, it turns out I was far too generous to Preznit Spaceman. I never considered the possibility that the spending boondoggle of Bush's manned mission to Mars would also provide a convenient excuse to kill inconvenient research. Alas:
Triana was never able to overcome its roots. NASA has quietly terminated what may have been its most important science mission. Critics of programs to limit emissions argue that climate change is caused by solar variation, not by atmospheric changes. There is one unambiguous way to tell: locate an observatory at L-1, the neutral-gravity point between Earth and Sun. It would have a continuous view of the sunlit face of Earth in one direction, and the Sun in the other, thus constantly monitoring Earth's albedo. Al Gore initiated the observatory project in 1998 to inspire school children with a continuous view of climate unfolding on our fragile planet. It was even given a poetic name, Triana, the sailor on the Santa Maria who was first to sight the New World (WN 24 Jul 98) . But Triana's importance to climate research, perhaps Earths biggest challenge, was not recognized until later. With urging from the National Academy, it was finished in 2001 and given a new name. It was still waiting to be launched when Columbia crashed. By then we had a new President and a new "vision." It was put on hold. The official reason for killing it is "competing priorities." The priority is to replace Gore's vision of the world with the Bush vision of sending people back to the moon. We should all weep.



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