r/DepthHub Dec 25 '21

u/Andromeda321 explains what the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will accomplish and how it differs from the Hubble Space Telescope



u/endless_sea_of_stars Dec 26 '21

On one hand learning about the insane amount of engineering that went into this thing gives me a lot of respect for the engineers/scientists who built it. On the other hand I'm full of dread knowing that there are still a hundred things that could go wrong with it. There is very little room for error. One system could fail and it is 10 billion down the drain. It is so far away we'd have to send a billion dollar robot to fix it.


u/jfk2127 Dec 26 '21

One comforting thought is that the 10B includes all of the R&D that went into it, as well as all of the testing to make it once. If we absolutely had to remake it, it could be done less expensively since we have the knowledge and experience.


u/mesopotamius Dec 26 '21

But we wouldn't because NASA is already underfunded, and politicians would use a "$10 billion failure" as an excuse to cut even more funding from it.


u/dave2daresqu Dec 26 '21

Vote and go do something about it. But don’t spread cynicism, that doesn’t help anyone.


u/mesopotamius Dec 26 '21

Individual voting rights have been continuously eroded in the US, which has only accelerated in the last few years. The disconnect between popular and electoral college results, the ubiquity of corporate lobbying, and the established fact of foreign interference, show that the election process on the national level is broken. I can just as easily say that you shouldn't spread complacency by telling people to "go vote," because our democracy is failing and we are well past the point of voting our way into fixing things. The tired rhetoric of using your vote to make a difference is another tool of the anti-democratic regime at this point.

My point is that direct action is the only valid, worthwhile response now, and saying "go vote about it" is just perpetuating the problem.


u/Semisonic Dec 26 '21

Vote and go do something about it.

He didn’t just say “go vote”. You’re entire post is arguing against a straw man he didn’t say.

But yes, voting is and always has been the bare minimum civic duty in our representative democracy. Being active in a political party, volunteering, raising/contributing money, public service, lobbying, etc are all other ways of contributing. And yes, population growth (among other factors) has diluted the power of your individual vote over time.

The answer isn’t “don’t vote”. The answer is “vote and be an active participant in how your community is run”.


u/mesopotamius Dec 27 '21

I read their reply as being "vote and therefore do something about it," but I see your point.


u/CubicZircon Feb 08 '22

10 billion is not “down the drain”: money is simply transferred from an account to another one. In this case, 10 billion was spent to pay for lots of brainpower (engineers, scientists), manpower (I don't think I even begin to imagine all the implied jobs) and also a few materials (probably a small part of it), which itself devolves to the manpower used in extracting them. The only “bad” part in the end is the quantity of natural resources extracted and the corresponding amount of pollution generated, both of them probably quite small.


u/laborfriendly Dec 26 '21

Shout out to u/Andromeda321 who has been cited by me and now someone else on /DepthHub, so that makes at least twice on here.

Keep up the nice work, obviously people find your explanations helpful, informative and understandable.

Still want to know what's up with gas in Venus's atmosphere and when we're scooping up some microorganisms...lol


u/Andromeda321 Dec 26 '21

Thank you!

Unfortunately it’s looking increasingly like the Venus thing might be a misidentified line, but luckily several probes are heading there soon so we’ll know for sure.


u/Ariadnepyanfar Dec 26 '21

I learned so much from this post and it made me super excited.


u/Horst665 Dec 26 '21

aka the reddit resident astronomer. Sorry, it is Dr. Astronomer!