When it comes to exploring the Universe and understanding what it’s made of, how it came to be, and what its ultimate fate is, no observatory has taught us more than the Hubble Space Telescope. It was the first flagship mission for NASA Astrophysics, the most revolutionary class of missions that NASA invests in of any type. What we’ve gained, both scientifically and in terms of human perspective, is immeasurable.
At the same time that the President’s budget threatens to terminate an upcoming flagship mission, the final selection for NASA Astrophysics’ flagship mission of the 2030s is imminent. Over the next few months, the four proposals will be ranked according to the recommendations of the National Resource Council. Any one of the four would be a worthy choice, but they all deserve a chance to fly. Here’s what the possibility means to all of us.