SOFIA, SOFIA - no bucks, no bangs
hadn't realised it was a German collaboration, makes the cancellation even stranger.
I wonder if the true cause is that SOFIA will not have a base to fly out of - if Ames is shrunk to two buildings and a logo, and Moffett Field sold for development, then the aircraft and support would have to relocate.
I'd also think the USAF would be interested in SOFIA's capabilities, but maybe not if the germans have full access.
40% cut for NAI. Ouch.
New Scientist has a summary
For a subset of our readers... there is no cosmology mission in the NASA pipeline (I don't count JDEM, it is a "structure" mission).
Beyond Einstein queue is LISA then Con-X (hah!). LISA has ESA collaboration to pull it along, maybe. Con-X is in deep shit trouble.
But after the sliver of Planck collaboration, NASA got nuthin' - no polarization probes, no big bang probes, nothing.
Also no Explorer or Discovery class missions that cosmology could compete for...
Under this budget, the earliest a new microwave background/early universe mission could be proposed for is 2012, so nothing flying until well after 2015.
That's a very big gap for people who like to play with data analysis or build instruments.