Webb telescope may be axed

It is one of the most sophisticated and technologically advanced machines ever conceived. The Next Generation Space Telescope, named for former Apollo-era NASA administrator James Webb, is actually designed to look all the way back to the beginning of time - 14 billion light years. It will also aid in detecting life on other planets, as well as catalogue rare cosomlogical phenomena like gamma ray bursts and supernovas. But in an era of budget cutting, it is seen by many on the Hill as a luxury we can't afford: The House Appropriations Committee released its 2012 Commerce, Justice and Science funding bill today, ahead of a scheduled committee markup Thursday. The bill provides $50.2 billion overall for the nation's projects in those three areas, which is $7.4 billion less than President Obama's budget request. NASA's budget is slashed by $1.6 billion, which is $1.9 billion less than Obama wanted. About $1 billion of that comes from the end of the shuttle program, and NASA Science...(Read Full Post)