Number 26 (Story #1), March, 22 1991 by Phillip F. Schewe and Ben Stein|
THE DECADE OF DISCOVERY IN ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS , a report released on March 19 by the National Research Council, is a blueprint for astronomy in the 1990's. The 15-member committee (chaired by John Bahcall of Princeton) that drew up the report specified as their highest priority in ground-based research an increase in the operations and maintenance budgets for the national observatories and an increase in the grants program for young astronomers. Many new astronomy instruments are recommended. In the category of "large programs," four initiatives are mentioned. These are in order of priority (1) the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF), a device 1000 times more sensitive than ground-based infrared detectors; (2) an infrared-optimized 8-meter telescope operating in Mauna Kea, Hawaii; (3) the Millimeter Array (MMA), an array of telescopes operating at millimeter wavelengths; and (4) the Southern 8-meter optical telescope, which would operate from the Southern Hemisphere. A decade's worth of new equipment initiatives, including the Large Projects as well as small and moderate projects, would cost $3 billion.