Thursday, May 03, 2007

Even More on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer

The May 2007 issue of Physics Today has more in-depth coverage of the debacle surrounding the launching of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS). I have mentioned about this silliness twice earlier in this blog (read here and here).

Failure to fly the AMS would remove the only US-led major experimental apparatus planned for the ISS, about which congressional representatives are being privately briefed. And Ting and his entourage are not giving up. "The US government has an obligation to the international partners to find a way to fly AMS," says Ting.

"In addition to the sheer waste of effort and money, the damage to international collaboration in science will be the real legacy of [pulling out of the AMS]," says Barish. "Ting's international collaboration includes respected strong laboratories from around the world, and I hate to contemplate what they must now think of the US government and NASA."

Again, the bottom line here is the whole purpose of building the ISS. It was touted to be an orbiting laboratory. Yet, it has so far produced NEGLIGIBLE SCIENCE. Here is this one project that has unanimous approval and that could save the ISS from being labeled as an orbiting space garbage, and they can't make room and funding for it! What am I missing here?


1 comment:

Robert L. Park said...

In selling the ISS to Congress NASA always held up the antimatter experiment of Nobel physicist Sam Ting as an example of basic science on the space station. Never mind that it never went through peer review. If you’re spending a $100B on a space station anyway, why not put AMS on board? It almost sounded free. So AMS was built at a cost of $1.5B.

According to Andrew Lawler in today’s Science (03-07-08), NASA now says it can’t afford to put AMS on the ISS unless Congress comes up with another $4B or so. NASA is exaggerating the cost, but it does cost four times as much to send an astronaut to the ISS as it does to put a rover on Mars.

It’s not possible to calculate the ratio of scientific value for a Mars rover over an astronaut since it involves a zero in the denominator

WHAT’S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 7 Mar 08 Washington, DC