Saturday, November 13, 2010

What a Tangled Webb We Weave

This blog has chronicled various ill-starred projects to search for fictional "dark energy." These were given names like SNAP and DESTINY, planned as Space telescopes up to 2.0 m diameter. After much disagreement, they were recently folded together into a 1.5 m telescope called WFIRST. This combined project was given highest priority in a Decadal Survey of the National. Research Council. WFIRST would search for extrasolar planets and, as a secondary goal, "dark energy." Even the reduced project may be done in by this:

The James Webb Space Telescope, NASA's flagship astrophysics mission, is years behind schedule and will cost at least 1.5 billion more than its current 5 billion dollar budget. To meet a launch date of 2015 JWST needs an immediate 400 million. In today's budget environment, NASA can not spare such a sum. Delays to JWST will impact other missions, especially WFIRST.

Additional budget pressure comes from the Stratospheric Observatory For Infared Astronomy. SOFIA, a giant telescope mounted in a 747SP, is also far over schedule and budget. JWST, SOFIA and the Hubble Space Telescope consume most of NASA's astrophysics budget. Their huge costs are causing delay or cancellation of other projects. Despite the high priority given WFIRST, it will not fly in this decade, if ever.

The hypothetical acceleration of "dark energy" is caused by something so simple that physicists have overlooked it. Redshifts are proportional to the speed of light c. Rather than the Universe accelerating, we have observed the speed of light slowing down. Long before scientists even get a chance to find their "dark energy," evidence will show a "c change" in physics.



Anonymous light and spacetime said...

How can that fit with special relativity?

10:40 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

This allows us to connect the local conditions off Special Relativity, which does not include gravity, with the large-scale Universe of General Relativity. This was explained 4 years ago in the post Thoughts. I must post those equations again soon.

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