The Atlantic once again has a great photo essay, this time on the future of NASA. It doesn’t really contain anything new, but it’s a very convenient collection of things that have been going on in the recent past and will be going on in the immediate future. Here’s the link.
Pictures like #24, of the surface of Mars, sometimes strike me as incredibly strange: this is a real planet, with an actual surface, that one (I) could theoretically walk on. For a long time, my desktop background was a NASA image of a sunset on Mars. I have a poor sense of distance, along with a terrible sense of direction, so, on a purely intuitive, illogical level, it seems no more unreasonable to my brain to imagine walking on Mars than it does to imagine walking in the Rocket Garden at Kennedy Space Center after a two-hour flight.
Sunset on mars, via NASA.
There are also a few Cassini images, an awesome picture of the James Webb Space Telescope, and many more. Definitely worth a look, especially if you still need convincing that a) NASA is not “over” with the end of the Shuttle program, or b) the JWST deserves saving.
I’ve asked on Twitter and on Facebook, and I will ask now and again at the end of this post: Please contact your representatives and ask them to restore funding to the James Webb Space Telescope. My Congressperson has yet to reply back to me.
There are many excellent articles out there already describing the reasons why the JWST should not be axed. Because it’s the successor to the Hubble. Because of all we will learn from it. Because the cost, in comparison to other budget costs, is not that great. Because we’ve spent time and money and jobs on it already, and stopping it dead in its tracks would leave an utter void. For the future of space exploration. For science. (As I write that, I can’t help but think of the little girl from Up saying “Adventure is out there!” And if that isn’t reason enough by itself to study space, I don’t know what is.)
So I could try to go over all of those reasons again. But I think all of you know that space exploration is important, for all those reasons and more. So instead, I have a personal story about why I kind of need this telescope to happen.