Ominous signs for NASA

There are several signs o’doom for NASA bubbling up out there

GALEX is going into standby mode in preparation for shut down.
It is working fine, but past its design lifetime, as so many NASA satellites do nowadays, and there is no more money for mission operation and data analysis.

There is a rumour that Caltech hustled for some private money to extend MODA, but they may not be able to do it anyway, because of liability and ownership issues.
So it goes.

At the same time there is SenseOfImpendingDoom at NASA – lot of 2011-12 programs appear effectively suspended pending the 2012-13 budget, to the point where an entire funding cycle will be lost for some lines.

Turns out the White House has given NASA the heads-up and they had to tell ESA some, and ESA has no compunction about talking.

Beeb story on NASA ESA break on Mars

WaPo on NASA cuts

Ed Weiler tells all about why he left NASA

not unrelated to :
ExoMars cuts – part of big NASA cuts rumoured in President’s budget request for 2013

This is partly JWST needing to find pocket change, and partly, presumably, the general onset of austerity and all ’round cuts.

This is going to hurt.
Real bad.


  1. #1 Craig
    February 10, 2012

    A number of people made serious efforts to find funding (putting together from a number of universities, including an attempt at a cross-Canada collaboration) to extend RXTE’s life. This effort was halted due to, I believe, those same kinds of liability issues making it impractical for an impromptu collaboration to run RXTE. I’m not surprised that people are making the same attempts for GALEX, and that they failed for the same reasons.

  2. #2 Caryl
    February 10, 2012

    Another good summary which begins with the sentence: “Astronomers are worried.” Indeed.

  3. #3 Caryl
    February 10, 2012

    And here’s an article about NASA/Caltech negotiations on transfering ownership of GALEX —

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