Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Want a Free Satellite? Here is How To Get One!

Well I may be a bit disingenuous with the title, but as a recent Dvice article points out that NASA has a habit of making things that last well past their envisioned mission parameters. What usually happens then is NASA runs out of money and the Satellite or whatever is abandoned in place.

From the article:

  • In an uncharacteristically common-sense move, NASA has decided to explore ways of continuing the science payoff of missions that it would otherwise have to scrap due to budget constraints.
Here is an example that the article pointed out. GALEX, an ultraviolet space telescope launched in 2003 to make an ultraviolet map of the sky is about finished with it's mission.  For all intents and purposes the spacecraft is almost completely functional, but since it is so far down on the funding list NASA would have turned it off and walked away from the complete system.   However, again from the article:

  • NASA is considering the unprecedented move of transferring GALEX and its associated ground equipment to the California Institute of Technology (for free) so that the telescope can continue to collect data.
This sounds like a really great idea and pretty much a win win for any participating institution.  I imagine that there are unseen complications that I am not privy to, but just knowing that there are scientific equipment platforms  that could and will be abandoned....(like, for instance, when the Hubble is finally decommed, I wonder just how much science it could still do if they just gave it to someone?  I know, extreme but you see where I am going.) 

Plainly someone at NASA is thinking outside the box.......

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