On building bolder telescopes
Thanks for the terrific article by former NASA Administrator Dan Goldin in the January issue. Dan’s aggressive push in the 1990s to convince the astrophysics community to think bigger and bolder about the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope led directly to the James Webb Space Telescope. Dan is right. New technology, lower launch costs and new approaches being adopted by many of our newest commercial space firms again present the astrophysics community with a golden opportunity — pun intended — to again think about a bolder path that does not take a quarter century to implement. Focus on the vision first, then figure out the technology, budgets and political support needed to make it reality. Never let those weeds get in the way of the vision.
Rains is a former communications executive at Northrop Grumman, Webb prime contractor, and a former editor of SpaceNews.