Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Cutting the dollars that go into projects advanced to this stage might make them worthless.

I am quite confident some of these funds came from the USA and the Trump administration has proposed huge cutbacks in science and medical research. Australia is suppose to be an ally. Cuts to any assistance is shooting ourselves in the foot.

It had to be the US because Australia didn't cut anything from it's astronomy budget.

May 10, 2017

In terms of the impact on science, (click here) the Australian budget, released 9 May, is “very bland,” says Les Field, science policy secretary at the Australian Academy of Science in Canberra, the nation’s leading scientific association. “There are no big spending initiatives but no major cuts,” he adds.

It’s a “business-as-usual budget for science and technology,” agrees Kylie Walker, CEO of Science and Technology Australia in Canberra, which represents scientists.

Overall spending on science for the fiscal year beginning 1 July and in later years, called the forward estimates, is not yet clear because support is spread across several ministries. But the plan does reveal some winners and losers....

If there has to be spending cuts it should occur for future project, not those already engaged, planned and underway. Honestly.

24 July 2017
By Sarah Wild

Designs for the world’s largest radio telescope (click here) have been scaled back to save money — a decision that astronomers say could affect its ability to peer deep into the Universe’s past. 
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a telescope 50 times more sensitive than current instruments, is expected to cost billions of dollars. Its final design calls for around 2,000 radio dishes in Africa, together with up to one million antennas in Australia, that will have a total light-collecting area of roughly 1 square kilometre — hence the project's name.
But the first phase of construction, called SKA1, is a more modest affair. Already slimmed down from a larger design proposed in 2013, it now comprises 194 dishes in South Africa and around 130,000 antennas in Australia. In March, the SKA's board said that the project would have to find further cuts of around 20% so that it could be built within a €674 million (US$785 million) cap imposed by the project’s ten funders — Australia, Canada, China, India, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. And at a meeting in the Netherlands on 18–19 July the board decided to make the savings by, among other measures, scaling back SKA1’s computing power and crowding its antennas and radio dishes closer together....

It is the US. Has to be. There isn't anything else it can be. There is opposition by Congress to the President's plans, but, that isn't going to play well with allies. They will not count on the USA and that just might be a permanent policy.

The 2018 budget proposal (click here) that President Donald Trump unveiled last week confirms two things that U.S. scientists have long suspected: The new president is no fan of research, and his administration has no overarching strategy for funding science. Deep proposed cuts to research at several agencies offer evidence that Trump doesn't see science—of any kind—as a spending priority. And along with neglect there's indifference. There's no telling how the National Science Foundation would fare, for example, because the budget blueprint doesn't mention it. In the meantime, scientists are also worried about the fate of this year's research budgets after Trump proposed cuts to the category that funds all civilian research. More angst: There's no word yet on whether the president will even appoint a science adviser, much less when he will fill dozens of senior slots at research agencies....

It's the USA. The global community is quickly coming to the conclusion the USA can't be counted on for anything.

27 June 2013

Australian organisations have won (click here) almost $19 million in funding to help design the world’s largest radio telescope.

The Australian Government has made almost $19 million available to Australian organisations to help design the groundbreaking international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project.

Co-hosted in Australia and South Africa, the SKA will be the world’s largest radio telescope. It is being funded by countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas as well as Australia and New Zealand.

“This is a gigantic international science project that will change the way astronomy is done worldwide and it will be co-hosted here in Australia,” Minister for Science and Research Senator Don Farrell said.

“These grants will help Australian organisations to win the opportunity to work with leading international players on the design of the SKA and, by doing so, demonstrate our world-class research and development capabilities.”

The grants are conditional upon the recipients being selected by the international SKA Organisation to undertake SKA work packages, worth around $114 million. An announcement of the successful tenderers will be made later this year....

The organizations that are falling short of funding could ask China. I am confident Chinese scientists would be delighted to be a part of it.

26 July 2017
By Jane Qiu

...For director-general Wu Ji, (click here) this 19.4-hectare, 914-million-yuan (US$135-million) campus represents the coming of age of China's space-science efforts. In the past few decades, Wu says, China has built the capacity to place satellites and astronauts in orbit and send spacecraft to the Moon, but it has not done much significant research from its increasingly lofty vantage point. Now, that is changing. “As far as space science is concerned,” he says, “we are the new kid on the block.”

China is rushing to establish itself as a leader in the field. In 2013, a 1.2-tonne spacecraft called Chang'e-3 landed on the Moon, delivering a rover that used ground-penetrating radar to measure the lunar subsurface with unprecedented resolution. China's latest space lab, which launched in September 2016, carries more than a dozen scientific payloads. And four additional missions dedicated to astrophysics and other fields have been sent into orbit in the past two years, including a spacecraft that is conducting pioneering experiments in quantum communication....