On Sun, 9 Jul 2000, John Clark wrote:
> Dismal failure or not the promoters want to spend 60 billion
> (200 billion after the inevitable cost overruns) and build
> phase one of the stupid thing right now.
Leaving aside the missle - anti-missle debate, I will comment
that there is some good coming out of this research in the form
of adaptive telescope optics to compensate for atmospheric
distortion (previously classified work), infrared arrays
and probably to some degree the development of a new generation
of expendable launch vehicles.
I doubt NASA could consider doing things like the Next Generation
Space Telescope if DoD hadn't spent a bundle developing some of
the needed technologies. There are also discussions for building
large (8m) size telescopes for surveying dark matter and near-earth
asteroids (see http://www.dmtelescope.org) and even 40-100m telescopes
that could see to the edge of the universe. Those telescopes would
require adaptive optics to be any good at all. It is doubtful if the
R&D investments could have been justified under the heading "astronomy",
but can get over when they are labeled "defense".
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