Wednesday, January 23, 2008

AMS vs JDEM?

Michael Griffin spoke on another subject to the American Astronomical Society this month. After 1.5 billion has been spent by 15 nations. the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer is sitting in a clean room without a flight to ISS. On December 14 Alan Stern told me personally that it was grounded for life. Recently Congress directed NASA to study getting AMS into Space. Some of Griffin's comments:

"AMS could be placed in orbit by other means, either as a free-flyer or delivered to ISS by means of automated systems, as with ISS logistics cargo. Such alternative means will not be cheap; current estimates are on the order of 400 million. NASA lacks the budget allocation for such a mission, so, should it be directed by Congress, it would have to "come out of hide". Astrophysics hide. Thus, I will be asking the National Academy to assess the priorities of the missions in the Beyond Einstein program set forth in their report last September, where the Joint Dark Energy Mission was recommended to be launched first, compared to the scientific priority of the AMS."

Among the insular world of scientists, an expensive mission to study imaginary "dark energy" is still popular. It would cost at least 1.1 billion and find nothing. AMS could be sent into orbit for relatively little and find the highest energy cosmic rays. A launch would please European and Japanese partners to no end. What will the scientists choose?

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4 Comments:

Blogger Kea said...

Well, physicists have become so addicted to finding nothing, that they'll probably still opt for the Dark Force and the Theory-They-Know. Personally, some of us could have eaten a few nice steaks with that money, but c'est la vie.

7:32 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Your post about non-detection of gravitational waves showed how right you are. Eventually our generation will win. I am sure you will end up eating fine meals instead of serving them.

5:42 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

Go ask the Russians. They have heavy lift launch capabilities and will take cash.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Alex Universe said...

Stardate 65068.06
USS - Athena
Chief Science Officer's log :

"After drifting out of Bajorian wormhole,we found ourself in a region absent of any luminous matter.It seems our devices effected by a high concentration of dark energy around us.We have a failures in a life supporting systems."

10:02 AM  

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