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Away From Home

Friday, May 27, 2005

Save Voyager!

As utterly ridiculous and asinine as it seems, Bush actually wants to cut off all funding of the Voyager program.

Voyager 1 is the farthest man-made object from Earth. It is actually more than twice as far away from the Sun as Pluto! It just passed through the region of space called the "termination shock", which is where particles from the Sun start running into gas and other matter from elsewhere in the galaxy. Never before have we had the opportunity to learn about what happens at this region of space, what types of matter are found there, or actually anything at all about it.

This sort of data is priceless. To re-create the opportunity we have right now would take at minimum 25 years (that's how long it's taken the probe to get there), plus the time and immense expense of designing, planning, building, and launching another probe.

But it's not alone. Voyager 2, an identical probe, is not far behind, and will cross the termination shock in a few years, but on a different trajectory. That means that even if one probe malfunctions, the project is still not dead.

Plus, the probes have enough power to keep communicating with Earth until the year 2020! Think of all that we can learn in the next 15 years about a region of space which most people never think about. If interstellar travel is ever going to be a reality, we have to know what happens in this part of space.

In short, we have at our disposal a resource which is unique in all of human history, and which is producing information which will quite probably be critical in the future.

And what does this program cost? How much money is Bush going to save by cancelling the project? $4.2 million. I'll say that again: $4.2 million. With an M.

Let that sink in for a second. This country has an annual budget of 500 million billion gajillion dollars, the war in Iraq is costing millions every week, Bush passes billions (with a B) of dollars in tax cuts, and suddenly he wants to cancel the best project that human space exploration has ever created, to save $4.2 million a year.

I swear, Bush gets more and more stupid by the day. Even proposing killing Voyager is, without a doubt, one of the most ignorant things this Administration has done.

2 Comments:

  • Maybe we should just tell Bush it's looking for new sources of oil in deep space. He'll send a dozen more.

    By Blogger Logan C. Adams, at 5/28/2005 12:09:00 AM  

  • I think going to war in Iraq is dumber. But that's just me.

    I do, however, agree that cutting off funding for the Voyager project is a stupid idea. And I agree with Logan.

    By Blogger Mela, at 5/31/2005 05:49:00 PM  

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