Friday, March 03, 2006

Scientists Lament Canceled NASA Mission

By ALICIA CHANG, AP Science Writer
March 3, 2006

LOS ANGELES - Scientists on Friday lamented the cancellation of a NASA mission to orbit two asteroids, saying the project would have shed light on how the solar system formed.

NASA axed the Dawn mission on Thursday, five months after it was put on hold because of cost overruns and technical problems.

The Dawn spacecraft would have made a nine-year voyage to two of the solar system's largest asteroids, Ceres and Vesta, which reside in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Project scientists and engineers exchanged a flurry of e-mails after news of Dawn's demise, expressing shock and disappointment, said Bruce Barraclough of Los Alamos National Laboratory, a Dawn science team member.

"After you've worked on something for so long and put your heart and soul into it, this is heartwrenching," Barraclough said.

The cancellation of Dawn comes as NASA is trying to fulfill President Bush's space exploration vision to retire the aging space shuttle fleet and develop a new manned spacecraft to return to the moon in the next decade.

NASA has been forced to delay several high-profile science projects including two telescope missions that would search for planets capable of supporting life.

Dawn would have been the first spacecraft to circle Vesta and Ceres, which scientists believe formed in different parts of the solar system and had different evolutionary processes.

Dawn Project NASA


JustinOther said...

Another example of backwards thinking by Bush. He'd rather take us BACK to the moon instead of exploring what else might be out there.

NASA probably ran out of money because it was diverted to "faith based initiatives".

Stardust said...

I am really sad to hear this today. Bush is ruining everything just like he ran TWO businesses into the ground. Now he is running the country into the ground. Whoever comes after him will have a mess.

JustinOther said...

I'm afraid the Chinese will be buying the country before Bush is out of office. They hold the majority of our national debt.

Alan said...

And why should we try to find out the origins of the universe when we all already know that God did it?

Stardust said...

When a meteor comes barreling towards earth threatening to slam into it all of these anti-space program people will be scrambling around trying to find scientists to think of something to save us.