There must be some kind of rule of balance with astronomy projects. No sooner have Herschel and Planck got on their way, but Spitzer runs out of cryogens. This means that two of it’s three instruments are now permanently dead. One of them, IRAC, can carry on, limited to just two of its four channels, but there’s great science to be done with this new mode. I know my colleagues in the SERVS project, one of several large scale legacy programmes for this new ‘warm’ mode, are raring to go.
Meanwhile I’m at the joint Gemini/Subaru conference in Kyoto, Japan. It was just announced here that WFMOS, a giant and highly capable multi-object optical spectrograph planned for Gemini, has been cancelled as it’s just too expensive for the current climate. Only one of the instruments from the much vaunted ‘Aspen Instrumentation Process’ will now be built. This can’t be considered a success for Gemini or for the Aspen process.