CSR Science Optimism?

The UK government spending review makes its announcement on Wednesday. The mainstream media have been full of reports of ministers squabbling, especially Osborne and Cable.  Interestingly, while insisting that they love each other, Osborne has said that

I, as a personal priority, want to see science supported – that’s part of this budget, and because Britain leads the world in science, and that’s all about Britain’s economic future.

Coo. Hope he means that. Meanwhile STFC is grinding towards the conclusion of its own Programmatic Review. Science Board met last week and apparently agreed a plan, contingent on budgets of course. Council will endorse in a few weeks and announcements will be made in September. Tension mounts. Do we get LSST? Do we get MOONS or WEAVE or both? I’d love both, and they really go for quite different science goals, but it might be a case of “you can’t have two MOSes”). Add your own frets.

Meanwhile ESA Cosmic Visions grinds along too. Today and tomorrow I am at a LOFT science meeting – I am not specially involved in LOFT, but am here to plug LSST. Every transient LOFT might see (in the southern sky) with the Wide Field Monitor will get a free LSST light curve. My X-ray chums are of course nervous about LOFT versus Athena. They are competing for different slots, and are suitable for very different kinds of science, but how likely is it that ESA will fly two X-ray missions?

3 Responses to CSR Science Optimism?

  1. Albert says:

    Two X-ray missions seems in itself not a big problem. They can even complement each other. But what would they exclude? Low-energy photons are important too, and each mission is expensive. If the CSR and/or the STFC programmatic review is bad, we may have a similar problem in the (far cheaper) ground-based program. A narrow program (facilities or science-wise) can be lopsided and unstable. Balanced growth, to paraphrase the government. Or was that ‘We are all in it together’ ?

  2. Phil Uttley says:

    Big like for LSST – simultaneity with other wavebands is great, and also nice that time domain astronomy is having its day. I think we in the X-ray community shoot ourselves in the foot with worries over ESA flying two X-ray missions. It might be true politically but it is short-sighted – like saying we shouldn’t do any other IR missions because there is JWST. By that reckoning Euclid and WFIRST should be down the tubes! Different capabilities and science, one focussed, one a Great Observatory, all exciting.

  3. It may be a mistake to characterise things in wavelength terms. Athena is a extragalactic astronomy and cosmology observatory. LOFT is (primarily) a physics experiment – extreme densities and spacetime curvature.

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