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Astronomy

JWST targeted by budget committee

Various sources
7 July 2011

The James Webb Space Telescope, years behind its original schedule and well beyond its budget, has been targeted by the House Appropriations Committee for elimination in the ongoing battle over government spending.

The elimination of the JWST in the proposal is the major item in the reduction of NASA funding, which is $1.6 billion below last year's level and $1.9 billion below the President's request. Other agencies involved in scientific research are also affected:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is funded at $701 million in the bill, which is $49 million below last year's level and $300 million below the President's request.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - The legislation contains $4.5 billion for NOAA, which is a cut of $103 million below last year's level and $1 billion below the President's request.

The legislation funds the National Science Foundation (NSF) at $6.9 billion, the same as last year's level and $907 million below the President's request.

Meanwhile, NASA said on 5 July that the Hubble Space Telescope has logged its one-millionth science observation during a search for water in an exoplanet's atmosphere 1,000 light years away.

"The Hubble keeps amazing us with groundbreaking science," said Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, the chairwoman of the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee that funds NASA. "I championed the mission to repair and renew Hubble not just to get one million science observations, but also to inspire millions of children across the planet to become our next generation of stargazers, scientists, astronauts and engineers."

Mikulski also tweeted a comment on the House budget proposal, calling the elimination of the JWST "misguided and shortsighted." 

JWST:
House Appropriations Committee press release
Congress puts NASA and JWST on the chopping block (Discover blog)
Eroding NASA science: space telescope scrapped? (Discovery News blog)

Hubble:
Hubble Reaches Millionth Observation Milestone (Red Orbit)
One Million Observations Now in the Books for Hubble Telescope (Universe Today)