NASA was going to launch an x-ray telescope. NASA spent $43.5 million on it. Then it killed the $119 billion program.
Better killed than completed. But it’s another example of government planning.
No one asked: “Why should NASA be spending money on an x-ray telescope?”
No one asked: “Why should NASA even exist?”
What was the telescope supposed to do? It was to study polarized x-rays streaming out of black holes and neutron stars.
You ask: “Why should taxpayers care?” Sorry; you are clearly part of the lunatic fringe.
The correct answer is: “To promote the latest theory of tax-funded astronomers. They need this information to make their careers.”
This was bad news for Jean Swank (I nan not making this up), the astrophysicist who wanted the taxpayers to fund his pet research project. Into like some black hole radiation sometimes falls.
Why did they cancel it? Because it was running 20% to 30% over budget.But the NASA-funded space shuttle project ran over budget by ten times the original projections.
Speaking of black holes, NASA still has its Mars Science Laboroaory ($2.5 billion). What is its goal? To issue press releases about “signs of dead life, thereby calling the Book of Genesis into question.” It never actually finds any signs of life. But the program keeps pretending that it has found traces of water, the building-block of life. It hasn’t actually proven that it has found water. But there are signs. Traces. Hopes.
Then there is the $8.8 billion James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). It is scheduled for 2018. That project is crucial. It’s just not clear regarding why it is crucial. It just is.