NASA will stop funding the Chandra Space Telescope

NASA will have to reduce funding for the Chandra X-ray space telescope. During its existence, it has made many discoveries, so this is a huge loss for scientists. There is nothing to replace it yet.

Chandra Space Telescope. Source: NASA

There is not enough money for the Chandra telescope

Last week, a message from the program director appeared on the official website of the Chandra Space Telescope. It says that, taking into account the amount that NASA will receive in 2025, there will not be enough money for its further operation. This jeopardizes the entire future mission of this tool.

Chandra is an X-ray telescope. It was launched into space back in 1999. Since then, it has been observing objects that emit energy at extremely short wavelengths and are therefore invisible to other observers. Despite its venerable age, this tool works without any problems.

The team that works with it has a lot of experience. Therefore, despite the lack of modernization, the accuracy of its measurements is constantly increasing. Thanks to this telescope, scientists have the opportunity to constantly see in all details neutron stars, black holes and giant explosions far in space.

However, now, this opportunity may disappear for many years. Because there is simply no replacement for the Chandra telescope. Other orbital observatories, even those as powerful as James Webb, simply do not work in X-ray light. There is also the IXPE satellite, but although it works at the right wavelengths, it is designed for something completely different.

How soon will the project stop being funded?

As already mentioned, the root cause of the possible shutdown of Chandra is the planned reduction in NASA’s budget. It will happen gradually, but the X-ray telescope will become one of its main victims.

In 2025, it is planned to allocate 41.1 million dollars for it. However, in 2026 this amount will decrease to 26.6 million. The same amount is planned to be allocated for it in 2027 and 2028, and in 2029 expenses will be reduced to USD 5.2 million. All this threatens not only to reduce staff, but also to completely decommission the tool.

At the same time, Chandra is not the only telescope that will suffer from funding cuts, but it is the only one facing final decommissioning. The Giant Magellan Telescope and the Extremely Large Telescope also have problems. Both giants will soon have to undergo an inspection, according to the results of which NASA will choose what to continue building further and what to temporarily freeze.

The Hubble Space Telescope program also expects a reduction, but the veteran of orbital astronomy is definitely not in danger of being taken out of orbit. But Chandra will almost certainly be completely decommissioned, this can still be avoided, but it is very doubtful that this will actually happen.

In connection with this news, scientists are in a real depression. The fact is that there is not only no replacement for Chandra, but it will not be for more than one year. The Athena Space Telescope, which is being developed by the European Space Agency, is still in the state of drawings. And the proposal to create an American replacement for the X-ray telescope has so far been made only in proposals for the next 10 years.

According to

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