GB review : deadline approaches

Like many others, I got an email this week with a link to notes from the Ground Based review Town Meeting. You can find this linked at the official GBFR page.  There is nothing very unexpected from that debate, but Michael Rowan-Robinson stressed that we should all pitch in. At the time of the town meeting, there were 95 responses. To make the powers that be pay attention, MRR says we need at least 400, similar to the number that responded to the Ward panel. I know some of you may be thinking “what difference does it make ?” but unless there is a large response, there will be every justification for thinking that ground based facilities don’t matter very much. So get your response in !

The panel have also made it clear that they can accept unsolicited papers, as long as these are within two pages. General rants won’t help at all, but if you have a specific proposal, make sure its known.

MRR also noted that somehow we have to make our economic impact case. In various places, senior STFC folk have made it clear that “the case for space” is made, and indeed there has been a fair amount of PR recently about space and the UK economy and the new Harwell ESA centre, and indeed a consultation has been launched. It seems a bit rough to split off “astronomy in space” from other astronomy, as astronomy overall could have made a good economic impact case. Note however that most of the space industry is not about astronomy, so if space-based astronomy gets bundled up, thats good. But the lesson is that we can’t allow “astronomy on the ground” to be forced into an unfunable ghetto. Must be some trick here we haven’t thought of.

14 Responses to GB review : deadline approaches

  1. Michael Merrifield says:

    Surely, astronomy is amongst the most fun-able of the sciences?

    More seriously, I still think we should firmly reject the premise here. If we continue to accept the idea that “astronomy from the ground” should be viewed as an entity, we end up in the ridiculous situation where huge projects like E-ELT and SKA are weighed against small-scale excellent national facilities like the Liverpool Telescope, but not against their true peers (in terms of scientific scope, cost and likely industrial return) that happen to be based in space.

  2. Dave says:

    Also it needs to be recognized that ground-based followup is necessary to get full scientific value from a space mission. Herschel is great, for example, but it won’t be nearly as good if we can’t followup Herschel sources form the ground to obtain identifications, redshifts, SEDs etc..

  3. Nick Cross says:

    Don’t forget data centres that process and archive data from ground-based instruments. It is very inefficient for all users to do this themselves. These tend to get overlooked, so please mention CASU/ WFAU if you use WFCAM data (or intend to use VISTA data).

  4. MikeW says:

    I doubt that STFC’s recognition that “the case for space” has been made will actually guarantee a bright future for space astronomy.

    The space agenda seems to be depressingly familiar, with economic impact at the fore.

    PS this link takes you more directly to the BNSC consultation document (which seems to be primarily about restructuring BNSC).

  5. Megan says:

    Do they care about what British astronomers overseas have to say I wonder?

  6. andyxl says:

    Megan – my understanding is that opinions from overseas astronomers are welcomed, but you will need to identify yourself as such in the response

  7. I agree that nothing related to space industry is astronomically important. Moreover its bad that commercialization hazardously comes into effect with this..

  8. Megan says:

    Thanks Andy, that’s good to know.

  9. Monica Grady says:

    Dear all,
    Please respond to the GBFR questionnaire. I’ve just sent out the third reminder. Tomorrow (31st) is the deadline, and we haven’t had the 400 replies that Michael R-R has identified as being a reasonable return from the community.

  10. andyxl says:

    Finally did my own !!!

  11. Monica says:

    Glad to hear – brings the total to 337. Now get all your friends and/or colleagues to submit theirs.

  12. Mrs Trellis says:

    Dear Lawrence,

    That Rowan Robinson fellow is great. I particularly liked him in Mr Bean.

    Yours sincerely,

    Mrs Trellis

  13. Tom Kerr says:

    Does anyone know how many responded to the GBFR questionnaire in the end? I don’t think I’ve heard or seen anything since the deadline.

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