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Which would you fund?

  1. Apr 3, 2012 #1

    Ryan_m_b

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    ESA is deciding this week which billion-plus euro project will recieve funding for launch in the early 2020s. The three candidates are:

    Juice - A probe that will be sent to investigate Jupiter and its moons, would be the first probe to Ganymede and would hopefulyl characterise underground liquid oceans (amongst other things).

    Athena - The "high energy complement to JWST" Athena would be the largest x-ray telescope ever built and would be used to investigate black holes and galactic nuclei.

    NGO - Formerly LISA; a joint project between NASA and ESA (until funding cuts forced NASA to reconsider) the Gravitational-Wave Observatory (NGO) would consist of a trio of laser-linked probes to investigate gravitational waves.

    So the question is: which would you fund?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 3, 2012 #2
    None of them.In these harsh economic times the money could be better spent elsewhere.
     
  4. Apr 3, 2012 #3
    Tricky one, I would pick Juice if was going to spend more time at Europa, Ganymede is a less exciting prospect.
    Athena looks cool but not sure it will discover anything fundametnally new.
    NGo, Im not sure the technology is reallyu ready. LiSA pahtfinder ahsnt even proven itself yet .
     
  5. Apr 3, 2012 #4

    Dotini

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    Juice it!
     
  6. Apr 3, 2012 #5
    Juice
     
  7. Apr 3, 2012 #6

    Drakkith

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  8. Apr 3, 2012 #7
    gravitational waves, from what I have heard, sound like they might be a bunch of hooey... it would be sad to see a billion euros go down the drain like that. But maybe all they need to detect them is a nice big project...

    I vote for Juice because I think that the Galilean moons are some pretty cool places and I'd like to know more about them.
     
  9. Apr 4, 2012 #8

    Chronos

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    Athena, it would be quite amazing to see it teamed up with the JWT.
     
  10. Apr 4, 2012 #9

    Ryan_m_b

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    Personally I would say Juice. It would be great to know a lot more about the bodies in our solar system and if it uncovers evidence of widespread underground oceans it would be a great boon for exobiology. That and pictures of so many different places that are relatively close might attract more public attention and thus more funding.

    Regarding the expense I don't think that a billion Euros over ten years split accross the EU is really much of a dent. It's a relatively small price to pay, also I worry that with constant cuts to science (especially space science) we will reach a situation where it becomes very hard to get funding again. Reason being that once we start looking at large scientific endevours and comparing them to what that money could be spent on it will be very hard to justify most of them as there are few guarantees of economic return.
     
  11. Apr 4, 2012 #10

    mfb

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    Spend a fraction of that money for new ideas how to make space launches cheaper, wait until this is done, build all ;).
    I like NGO, but the other two are interesting, too.
     
  12. Apr 4, 2012 #11

    Ryan_m_b

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    That would be great but I'm not convinced that cheaper ways to get to space could be achieved without significant investment over a long period. On top of that it's not like better access to space hasn't been investigated and funded over the decades (and continues to be so in both the public and private sector) but the challanges are still huge.
     
  13. Apr 4, 2012 #12

    mfb

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    If they get funded, I see very few results of it. I would expect to see at least anything, given some millions of €/$. A proof of concept for parts of it, some numbers which do not come from a random number generator, ...
    Of course, the real development might need something close to 1 billion, and in case of megastructures the construction could require tens of billions. The ISS is somewhere in the region of ~100 billions.
     
  14. Apr 5, 2012 #13
    I think Juice has more possibility of public appreciation/interest which will help funding. Also I think we really should get as much space travel under our belts as possible!

    As Ryan has said as well - Jupiters moons could hold immense amount of new information and possible even life!
     
  15. Apr 5, 2012 #14
    Athena, but I am biased toward X-ray astronomy!
     
  16. Apr 5, 2012 #15

    nicksauce

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    NGO, but as a numerical relativist I am heavily biased!
     
  17. Apr 5, 2012 #16
    When you are starving the worst thing that you can do is to burn your seed corn. If you don't fund science, you aren't going to generate new discoveries and times will stay tough.

    Science is not a luxury.
     
  18. Apr 5, 2012 #17
    My rankings would be

    Athena
    Juice
    NGO
     
  19. Apr 5, 2012 #18

    turbo

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    Observational astronomy should get first shot, IMO. That's what astronomy is all about. We cannot send probes beyond our little Solar System neighborhood in our lifetimes, so realistically, all astronomy should be centered on observations. If we're going to fund something, any project that expands the wavelengths that we can observe at is prime for support.
     
  20. Apr 5, 2012 #19

    Vanadium 50

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    Well, you heard wrong. It may be that GR is wrong, and there are no gravitational waves. In this case, that would be an extremely significant result.

    For the JUICE fans, let me point out a few facts:
    • The risk of mission failure is higher.
    • The science comes later by a minimum of 6 years, and most likely 8.
    • Launching the radioactive material needed to power JUICE will generate intense opposition.
     
  21. Apr 6, 2012 #20
    Who said anything about not funding science?Not me.What I am against is spending billions of pounds of public money on projects of this type at this particular time.
     
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