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My Life as a Science Promoter – James Webb Telescope: live or die? 7/18/11

July 19, 2011

My Life as a Science Promoter (MLaaSP) is the daily science adventures of Tom Ruginis, a Molecular Biology PhD deserter in Chicago aiming to start a new career as a Science Promoter. What does a Science Promoter do? Keep reading and you’ll find out.

Science from Chicago

July 18, 2011

Today I’m working on a post about my review for Deep Space Adventure, the new show at Adler Planetarium. With writer’s block looking over my shoulder, I’m researching NASA and astrophysics with the hope of freeing some thoughts. I came across several interesting articles about NASA missions that were cut short. Currently, the Hubble Telescope is winding down it’s time of service and will be given an honorable discharge. The Hubble mission was fortunate enough to receive funding for its full term, but past satellite missions weren’t so lucky.

DSCOVR was victimized by politics and has been sidelined for the past decade, currently boxed up in a warehouse in Maryland. DSCOVR was ready to observe changes in Planet Earth’s climate with 2 high-tech instruments. Scientists would collect data to study the human impact of our presence on Earth–crucial data necessary for humans to adapt to climate change (which is real!) All DSCOVR needed was a green light from politicians, but:

“During the Bush administration, it became politically vulnerable, largely because of its association with Gore.”

Dick Armey, R-Texas put it this way,

This idea supposedly came from a dream. Well, I once dreamed I caught a 10-foot bass. But I didn’t call up the Fish and Wildlife Service and ask them to spend $30 million to make sure it happened.

Classic, irrational response. Discover the full story behind DSCOVR’s journey, and the potential energy being wasted, at Popular Science: Who Killed the Deep Space Climate Observatory?
Currently, NASA is in another similar predicament, The James Webb Space Telescope (JWSP). Will the results from Hubble’s successor be worth the price of admission? It’s already over-budget and behind schedule. However, it has the capabilities to “image planets and perhaps find evidence for water on the planets.” JWSP is the next step to finding life outside our solar system. So, you can see the problem, if life came from God, why would religious taxpayers and politicans spend money on the search for extraterrestrial life?

Read about funding for JWSP and it’s benefit to humanity, from http://www.NPR.org: Funding for James Webb Telescope in Jeopardy

My concern is not contradicting the concept of God, but finding alternative uses for $1.5 Billion. STEM education? Infrastructure? Perhaps another area that would provide a tangible benefit, DSCOVR? Should we bypass the stars and look at our own planet? We’ve all heard the phrase, “If it’s not broke don’t fix it.” Well, a lot of scientists out there agree that our planet is broke–the oceans are dying, we might be in the presence of a 6th mass extinction, & the ice caps are melting. If it’s broke, should we use science and fix it? What do you think? Vote below:

Tom’s Science Articles of the Day:

Whale Wars Behind the Scenes: the life of a camera man (it isn’t easy) @AnimalPlanet

Special Science & Nature Classes for Kids Around Chicago – this year’s theme: Cycles in Nature @SunTimes

What you should know about recycling glass – Almost 3,000,000 tons of glass were recycled in 2009 @Earth911

A Star Wars video game unlike any other – the power of a 20-foot-wide multitouch display that runs at 8,160×2,304 resolution @CNET

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