View Full Version here: : McNaught needs funding
11-07-2012, 08:57 AM
This is very sad, Rob McNaught had his funding cut from NASA and Aust Govt is not willing to help (yet) :mad2:
11-07-2012, 09:38 AM
Oh, I read about this is New Scientist, but I didn't realize it was Rob's work. Sad. What happens when you have to rely on government funding, I suppose.
11-07-2012, 09:41 AM
Typical that an well oiled program of scientific merit is overlooked by this pathetic government and it's scientific funding. They would much sooner waste a billion or two on some daft scheme or navel gazing committee.
It is good to see that Rob has got some publicity about his tenure
and I communicated with him last year about this.
By way of background, Rob is employed by the Australian National
University in Canberra and his colleagues in the northern hemiisphere
with the Catalina Sky Survey are using facilities belonging to the
University of Arizona.
The NEO Observations Program (NEOO) is a result of a 1998 US
Congressional directive to NASA to conduct a program to identify 1 km.
or larger bodies to an estimated 90 percent confidence level or better.
Then a further mandate (June, 2006) had been issued to identify
140 meter or larger bodies to the same confidence level.
So the funding for the surveys had come from NASA from what
was a set of US Congressional directives.
As I understand, the stated goal of those directive had been reached
and hence the project has come to its end.
What would probably be needed now is a new directive from somewhere.
For example, as we know, some warning of smaller in-bound objects
could be of great benefit to populations on the planet.
Rob's employer, the ANU, is the one who is ultimately pulling the plug
on the project.
It is important to appreciate that the Australian Govt is a relatively
new player in this and has been approached for support and as the article
mentions, is looking into it. It would be incorrect to say they have
said they are unwilling to help and keep in mind that given they have
not been directly involved in the project before, it would be ill advised
to bite one of the few hands that may be in a position to help.
If IceInSpace readers feel they would like to assist, I would recommend
they send a letter or email to the Minister for Industry and Innovation,
Greg Combet, or the Minister for Science and Research, Chris Evans,
recommending that a new survey should be initiated and
that as an Australian tax payer, that you are willing to see the
Government fund it. State clear reasons why, given your knowledge
of astronomy, such a new program would have merit.
Avoid being rude or abusive any more than if you just lost your job,
wanted to get employed by someone else and started the ball rolling
by abusing your potential new employer. This will not help Rob at all.
Rob certainly operates on a shoe string budget and let's hope
a new program can be initiated. :thumbsup:
11-07-2012, 11:13 AM
Thank you for your excellent suggestions Gary,
Greg Combet's contact here
and Chris Evans contact here
11-07-2012, 11:14 AM
That's disgraceful ... the money wasted on Govt' ' perks ' would easily fund Rob's ventures.... and they would still have money to waste.
If the ' proverbial ' did hit the fan ... pollies and Govt' ( and NASA ) would be knocking down Rob's door .... please ... please .... please ..... save us ... where's it gonna hit ... how big is this rock...? .... will we be wiped out .. ooooh ... please help us.
... run along scumbags... it's toooooooooo late. :lol:
11-07-2012, 12:09 PM
Before dumping on the government let's not forget that it was NASA who cut the funding in the first place. The Australian government is now expected to fund an unexpected and unbudgeted for expense. From the article:
11-07-2012, 01:19 PM
There was a similar search run by Dr David Steele in the 1980's,which was canned by the Howard Government.
I sent a letter to the science minister of the day asking that the funding be restored and recieved a reply from a secretary saying that the minister was not concerned at being hit on the head by an asteroid while he slept.:sadeyes:
So you can see both sides of politics are not clean when it comes to funding science.
The science budget was severely slashed under the previous coalition government.
A May 16 2012 NASA news article (http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-138) sheds some light on the scope of work
to be done in searching for what they term Potentially hazardous asteroids, or PHAs,
which are a subset of the larger group of near-Earth asteroids (NEOs).
In 2010, NASA launched the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite
into a nearly polar orbit. It used a 40cm aperture telescope with an infrared
detector cooled by cryogens and was always directed 90 degrees away from the Sun.
Part of its mission was termed NEOWISE which was an attempt to assess the
solar system's population of potentially hazardous asteroids.
In particular, WISE's strength was in attempting to detect dark asteroids that
are radiating strongly in the infrared. It attempted to track them for several hours
to try and determine initial orbital elements so that they could then be followed up by
ground based optical wavelength observations.
As stated in the May 2012 NASA news article -
The article goes on to state -
WISE is now in hibernation.
Article here - http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-138
So there is still plenty of work to do in the search for PHA's including from dedicated
ground based observations right here in the southern hemisphere.
If you believe that a full-time search for NEO's and PHA's is in the national
interest, you might consider contacting the Minister for Tertiary Education,
Skills, Science and Research, Chris Evans (http://www.gregcombet.com.au/file.php?file=/contact.html) and/or the Minister for Industry
and Innovation, Greg Combet (http://www.alp.org.au/federal-government/labor-people/chris-evans/). (Thank you Bo for the contact details).
Another possible person to write to is Nicola Roxon, who is the Attorney General
and Minister for Emergency Management (http://www.nicolaroxonmp.com/j20/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=174&Itemid=83).
One of the outcomes of the 2004 tsunami was a heightened awareness of the
dangers a large tsunami poses and efforts were then put in place to construct
an early warning system network. For example, the Joint Australian Tsunami
Warning Centre (JATWC) is operated by Geoscience Australia and the Bureau of
Meteorology and the Attorney-General's Department contributes to it in
co-ordinating emergency management. In other words, if you feel that a full-time
NEO search program, rather than being a piece of pure scientific research
should become an emergency warning service that could benefit not only
Australia but other nations, then you might like to forward that suggestion to
the Attorney-General's Department for consideration.
The good news is that in recent years, through science shows on television
and through Hollywood, the concept of an asteroid impacting Earth is
not so fanciful in the minds of the population as it once was.
When one then points out the number of recorded recent near encounters such as these -
http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/css/css_news.html , the case for a full-time search becomes
even more compelling.
Apart from the potential for physical damage and loss of life, the world is interconnected
so closely today by commerce and trade that even a small impact could plunge the world
into an economic catastrophe. Something potentially worth hedging against.
11-07-2012, 02:16 PM
One less NAVY TAXI escorting Illegal Tourists from Indonesia :screwy: would more than cover RM's requirements......
11-07-2012, 04:40 PM
:confused2::rolleyes: why does every other thread get a political slant?
1. It's not illegal to seek asylum
2. They are refugees not tourists (over 90% are deemed genuine once they have their claims assessed).
3. Refugees are displaced people mostly from war torn countries such as iraq and afghanistan - wars we are in because of our alliance with US.
4. 10 time more people came in on "student" and "tourist" visas via the airport.
Off topic now, but you get my points.
11-07-2012, 05:29 PM
If they were genuine refugees they would not be able to pay $10,000 plus for a 'ticket'.
11-07-2012, 06:30 PM
So genuine refugees can't have money :confused2:
Many of them sold everything they have to scrape together whatever they can. Many of them are also exploited along the way and have to work as virtual slaves in order to earn a living while on the run.
12-07-2012, 09:27 AM
Seriously, I have spent a lot of time with Afghani refugees here, and they smuggled out video tapes of what they were fleeing from, bodies piled up in mass graves, people dragged out into the streets and shot, and other stuff too horrible to even mention here. It looked like the worst stories from Nazi Germany, we tried to get it to the networks, but they all considered it 'too shocking' to show, I could hardly watch it to transfer it for them.
They traded and sold everything they had and endured unimaginable hardship to get here, giving up everything to try and save their families from actual horror.
There are plenty of areas that a Government could switch funding from to fund McNaught,but plenty of people would rage against some stupid space funding taking money when disability services or some other need-group wants funding.
And if you are outraged by this and want him to continue, then take the ten minutes to write to the people in Gary's post.
If half the members here sent actual paper letters then it would actually make an impact.
I think the Government should fund McNaught, but if they won't perhaps we could set up a worldwide public funding system to do so, maybe along the lines of Kickstarter or something similar.
12-07-2012, 09:38 AM
Perhaps all this attacking the very people you want to fund this vital research is not a good Idea has anyone asked Rob Mc'naught if he wants all the people attacking the government possibly upsetting the government before they have even assesed his need for funding you know just incase they read this by some wild chance.
Just my take on the situation it seems that the current government has just been made aware of the funding problem and should be given time to make an assesment.
And I must say I don't have any love for any party I vote for the group that most closely matches what the planet needs and what is right for humanity as a whole not what I want for myself.
Anyway this thread is about Rob and his research it is not anothere opportunity to have another go at our own bug bear.
12-07-2012, 02:55 PM
Good point, it would be better to contact Rob first.
I wasn't advocating attacking the gvt at all though, simply sending a well reasoned letter to them pointing out the importance of it and that there is some community support and letting them know what a positive spin could be put on funding such a thing.
27-10-2012, 05:20 PM
Word is getting about that Rob McNaught's NEO search funding has been rejected by the Commonwealth. This is disgusting. The southern hemisphere will no longer be monitored for incoming asteroids if this happens. If you feel strongly about this, use the Prime Minister's webmail form to express your concern: http://www.pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm
29-10-2012, 09:39 PM
On any thread on this site you can ID the people who listen to Alan Jones.
22-02-2013, 07:09 PM
Do you think this could be kicked off again if the the pollies could be pointed out that others are now looking at this; and they've recently abandoned it.
22-02-2013, 10:55 PM
Maybe one of those meteorites could hit Parliament House
Wastage in all Dept's of Govt is rife I can attest to millions $$ that have gone down the gurgler due to poor contract management in Govt, yet the Govt cries poverty when it comes to science and good fundamental community based programs, albeit providing support for high profile projects that have vested interests.
Recently our state leader praised the virtues of his Govt's involvement in the SKA project yet failed to mention at the time that his Govt was closing the Perth Observatory.
22-02-2013, 10:57 PM
Haha! Too big a budget in their eyes and poor planning. Seen it too.
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