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Beside the demise of the Hubble Space Telescope, you can add the end of the Voyager probe, the 28-year mission that has sent a spacecraft farther from Earth than any object ever made by humans. Both are casualties of Bush’s misguided effort to colonize the Moon and Mars, and both sacrifice good, here-and-now science for the potential of maybes and might-be’s.

Voyager, which costs only $4.2 million a year, is the only plan we have to reach the edge of our solar system. Its photographs are also “all over astronomy textbooks”, said Louis J. Lanzerotti, who last year led a Hubble study for the National Academies of Science. Both Voyagers are expected to provide usable data until 2020, when their plutonium power sources are used up.

Isn’t 4.2M/yr worth a great nation’s scientific literacy?

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