The US bureaucracy’s space branch (NASA) wants to scrap a Shuttle flight to carry out a servicing on the Hubble telescope. A petition has been started by Fernando Ribiero, a Brazilian, to “Save the Hubble“.
As one commenter on the site points out, it is easy for someone living outside the USA to demand that US taxpayers’ money and US lives be risked in a leaky Space Shuttle. For all sorts of American reasons there is a petition but only Americans can sign.
Surely the answer is obvious: privatise Hubble!
I am sure someone could set up a website taking credit card donations to pay for the upkeep of Hubble. Without the NASA inter-departmental bickering, it should be feasible for a few dollars per subscriber a year. I for one would consider this a far preferable use of my money than most government schemes I can think of.
If no trips to service the Hubble telescope are made, it will cease operating by 2007. At some point after that we can assume that the telescope would come crashing down to Earth (statistically not going to do any damage). So the privatisation method I would suggest is that used by the British government to dispose of the Trustee Savings’ Bank in the late 1980s. A price was set, to encourage some sorting out wasters from serious operators and the net proceeds were used to boost the bank’s capital. A variation of this method should keep Hubble up for the next 10 years.