The International Space Station (ISS) has been ridiculed by many (and certainly by Bob Park) as being a glorious orbiting piece of an expensive junk whose purpose probably is an eventual tourist attraction. So, if you are a NASA Administrator and someone actually proposed a viable, highly-praised experiment that can piggy back onto the ISS, wouldn't you be all over it like a cheap suit just so you can now deny these critics that the ISS is worthless? You'd think so, wouldn't you? Of course you would, because you're smart and rational.
But not if you're Michael Griffin, the current NASA Administrator. I have no idea if his decision is being made by others higher ups, but this is just mind-boggling. Reported in this this week's Science (Science 16 March 2007):
The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) is a model of international cooperation, led by a dynamic Nobel Prize winner, and promises to do impressive science in space. But it may never get a chance to do its thing.
The problem is that NASA has no room on its space shuttle to launch the $1.5 billion AMS mission, which is designed to search for antimatter from its perch on the international space station. "Every shuttle flight that I have has got to be used to finish the station," NASA Administrator Michael Griffin told a Senate panel on 28 February.
What exactly is he rushing to finish here? A floating.... er.... what? Bed and Breakfast? You can't call it a laboratory, since that would require actual scientific work to be done.
You have to read the rest of the article. It is frustrating when really silly things like this are being done.