What Would It Mean for Astronomers If the WFIRST Space Telescope Is Killed?

Sep 2013
On a hill
By Calla Cofield, Space.com Senior Writer | February 13, 2018

The White House budget proposal has called for the cancellation of the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)...


Among its many science capabilities, WFIRST was designed to search for and study planets around other stars, and answer key questions in cosmology. That also included a focus on understanding the nature of dark energy, that mysterious force that is believed responsible for the universe's accelerating expansion. David Spergel, a physicist at Princeton university and co-chair of the WFIRST science team, wrote on Twitter about the value of WFIRST, citing some of the many questions that it could help scientists answer.

"What is driving the acceleration of the universe? What are the properties of exoplanet atmospheres? How did our galaxy and its neighbors form and evolve? What determines the architecture of exoplanets? US should be leading the world in addressing these big questions," he wrote.

"I think it's a poor decision and an unnecessary one," Spergel told Space.com regarding the decision to cancel WFIRST. "I see it as abandoning U.S. leadership in space astronomy. Canada, Japan, the European Space Agency, France — they are all ready to partner with us and make contributions to the mission. They join in because they think this is something we'll do, because it's our top [decadal survey] priority."

Sep 2013
On a hill
"If the astronomy community and those who are interested in astronomy push back, we will be able to reverse the cuts in the astronomy budget," Spergel wrote on Twitter. "These cuts imperil not only WFIRST but any future major mission. Push back!"

But if WFIRST does get canceled, it will leave the astronomy community with the difficult challenge of figuring out how pursue the science goals of the mission.
How can America be great again if we dont do these things?


Council Hall
Dec 2007
Pennsylvania, USA
I expect that China would be able to entice many of our best specialists to work on similar projects for them, given that Trump is unwilling to provide funding. And frankly, I wouldn't blame them for taking the jobs.
Jun 2014
United States
The White House budget proposal has called for the cancellation of the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)...
The White House budget proposal is nothing more than an overpriced package of asswipe. Congress has already passed a budget. None of them gives a damn what's in this proposal.