JWST

About a month ago, I sent this letter to all the elected representatives I could find via congress.org- Democrats and Republicans alike.

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It worries me that the House of Representatives is even considering defunding NASA, using the James Webb Space Telescope as a scapegoat.  It’s a short-sighted measure that will kill jobs and stifle innovation and this country’s future.

With only 0.6% of the US budget going to NASA in the first place, cutting JWST would barely make a dent in our economic problems, but it would send a powerful message to the world that America is no longer interested in being at the forefront of scientific research.  It would send a powerful message to all the skilled scientists, innovators, and brilliant people who kept this country blazing new trails over the past century, that they should seek their fortunes elsewhere.  In the last century, the US put a man on the moon, explored the solar system, answered fundamental questions about how we’ve been here with the most advanced space telescope ever built… none of these things were easy, none of these things had ever been done before, no one else COULD do those things the way we have.  And now we’re poised to give up that leadership to Europe or China, because we think saving a few pennies here or there will solve the national debt problem.

Killing JWST and, by extension, strangling NASA, will kill jobs.  Skilled jobs, that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiatives have tried to cultivate.  NASA employs tens of thousands of skilled scientists, engineers and educators all over the country, including Georgia, and they will lose out.  It will prevent foreign scientists from coming to work in this country to share their expertise.  Talented children will not choose to go into engineering or science because there are no jobs.  These are not the people you want to lose if you want a bright future for America.  America deserves better than to be a second-rate country riding on someone else’s coattails.

NASA is cheap (0.6% of the national budget).  JWST is cheap, if you consider the number of technologies and techniques that had to be invented (with benefits to industry) to make it work.  Thousands of people are employed in Georgia by these jobs, thousands more within and outside the US look at NASA as a shining inspiration of what America is capable of.

Please look elsewhere for budget cuts.

With regards,
Adric Riedel

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