Saving the Webb Space Telescope

Fearing budget cuts, N.A.S.A. chief Charlie Bolden told Congress that the next-generation space telescope has greater potential for discovery than the iconic Hubble Space Telescope.

What's the Latest Development?


The House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees N.A.S.A. has proposed a 2012 spending bill that would give the space agency just $16.8 billion, $1.6 billion less than last year. The new budget would eliminate funding for the James Webb Space Telescope (J.W.S.T.), the space agency's long-anticipated follow-up to the Hubble Space Telescope. But N.A.S.A. chief Charlie Bolden, in his testimony before Congress, said the agency can deliver J.W.S.T. to space for about the same price as Hubble—and the science returns would be even greater.

What's the Big Idea? 

The $6.5 billion J.W.S.T., named after a former N.A.S.A. administrator, is billed as the agency's muscular successor to Hubble, which launched back in 1990 and is still going strong. J.W.S.T. is an infrared observatory designed to peer further back into the universe's early days than ever before. "I have tried to explain what I think is the importance of James Webb, in terms of opening new horizons far greater than we got from Hubble," Bolden told members of the House Science, Space and Technology committee Tuesday. "I would only say that for about the same cost as Hubble in real-year dollars, we'll bring James Webb into operation."

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

In a first for humankind, China successfully sprouts a seed on the Moon

China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.

Image source: CNSA
Surprising Science
  • China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
  • In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
  • The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
Keep reading Show less

10 science photos that made history and changed minds

These photos of scientific heroes and accomplishments inspire awe and curiosity.

Surprising Science
  • Science has given humanity an incalculable boost over the recent centuries, changing our lives in ways both awe-inspiring and humbling.
  • Fortunately, photography, a scientific feat in and of itself, has recorded some of the most important events, people and discoveries in science, allowing us unprecedented insight and expanding our view of the world.
  • Here are some of the most important scientific photos of history:
Keep reading Show less

Love in a time of migrants: on rethinking arranged marriages

Arranged marriages and Western romantic practices have more in common than we might think.

Culture & Religion

In his book In Praise of Love (2009), the French communist philosopher Alain Badiou attacks the notion of 'risk-free love', which he sees written in the commercial language of dating services that promise their customers 'love, without falling in love'.

Keep reading Show less