NASA budget blunder
My thanks and admiration to Ron Cowen for writing about NASA’s “culture of deception” in his recent article on the James Webb Space Telescope mission (“Star cents,” SN: 4/9/11, p. 22). If the astronomy community (and Congress) had decided years ago that spending $7 billion or $8 billion on JWST would be our best use of funds, then I would be happy to live with that. Instead, we have swallowed the bait of a series of low-ball estimates, and are now held hostage by a project that is “too big to cancel.”
Patrick Broos, University Park, Pa.
Another critical consideration for the JWST is that this unique object, costing at least $6.5 billion, will be placed on a launch vehicle. What vehicle will be used to launch it, and what is the calculated probability of a launch success according to knowledgeable people other tha