Wednesday, September 28, 2011

End of the Petition!

Attention Science Warriors:

The petition is coming to an end!

Yes. It is true. According to an anonymous, credible source on Capitol Hill, the Senate and House CJS subcommittees will be negotiating during the next 2-3 weeks on the final amount of funding for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) before including the final figure in a massive omnibus bill (includes all 12 appropriations bills) that will go before the House and Senate Floors. The critical time to influence decision-making on Capitol Hill is now. Our plan is to end the petition, print it, bind it, and deliver it to key members of Congress by mid-October. Please help us in our final push to get as many signatures as possible before the petition ends. The last day for the petition is OCTOBER 9 2011. Science Warriors, the time to do battle is nigh! Let's close this sweet chapter and let Congress know who works for who around here.

However, this is not the end. It is no where near the end. Our most effective coup-de-grace is now.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

JWST News Update: Senate Appropriations Committee Vote

Greetings Science Warriors:

Good News for the JWST!
Earlier today (Wednesday September 14, 2011) the US Senate Appropriations Committee, including the Subcommittee concerning Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies met to hash out the details of the FY2012 bill. A few of those details include a small victory for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) today! The Senate Subcommittee has voted to include $530 million for the JWST in 2012. This represents a larger amount than the Obama Administration proposed, which totaled $374 million. This is a significant positive outcome for the JWST. However, we are not out of the woods just yet. Read below more details.

The Effects of a Two-Chambered Legislature
So, didn't we just do this kind of vote two months ago and lose? If you are confused, you're not alone; we were too! Here is some background on how the process works: The US Congress is divided into two halves: the House of Representatives and the Senate. When building a bill, in order to make it law, each half of Congress negotiates the details of a bill in special committees dedicated to specific tasks and subjects. In July, the US House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies voted NOT to include funding for the JWST when building thier version of the FY 2012 bill. That's when most of us got motivated. Today, the US Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies sat down to discuss the details of their version of the FY 2012 bill. The Senate Subcommittee decided to "mark-up" (which means amend the bill, a normal process for any bill) so that NASA receives $17.9 Billion, which is only $509 Million less than NASA budget last year. This proposed NASA budget "provides funds to enable a 2018 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope" (from the Senate Subcommitte Summary for thier version of FY 2012), with a proposed 2012 JWST budget of $530 million.

This differs from what the US House proposed NASA should receive: Overall, only $16.8 billion and JWST, specifically, $0. Check out this Space Politics article for an excellent summary of the changes the US House Subcommittee proposed for NASA in FY 2012. With regard to funding for NASA and funding for the JWST, the House and the Senate disagree with each other. Now, they will have to compromise.

We expect the bill to go to the full Senate for a floor vote soon. When it passes, and it may be amended before it does, it will be presented for a full House vote. There, both the House and Senate will have to compromise on the details of the FY 2012 budget. Finally, it moves to the President's desk to be signed into law. When might it reach the full House floor for a vote? Perhaps sometime in October is our best guess. The timeline for a bill can change at a moments notice. And rest assured we will be keeping up with that timeline.

More Battles Yet to Come
SaveJWST wants to offer a big hearty "Thank You" to all of you who signed the petition, who interacted with the facebook page, and especially those of you who made your voices heard with the US Congress. We can't be sure of how much our presence and grassroots activity impacted the Senators in the US Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies today. Regardless, we are thrilled that members of the Senate have thrown their support behind NASA and JWST.

Today is a victory, Science Warriors. We should cheer for this day. However, we still have battles yet to fight. JWST is not entirely safe yet, so please continue to gather supporters and spread the message. We need more signatures for a louder collective voice. We need more emails and phone calls pouring into Congress. We will keep you updated on the progress of this magnificent telescope: The Hubble of the Next Generation. The fight for flight continues!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The whyJWST Video Competition

Dear Science Warriors:

JWST Primary Mirrors and Technicians
In the next few years, the Hubble Space Telescope—a triumph of science and technology that has yielded a multitude of discoveries and inspired millions worldwide—will be shut down. Fortunately, NASA is in the process of building its successor: the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Scheduled to launch in 2018, the JWST will give us an unprecedented view of the heavens. Scientists will use the JWST to study the formation of galaxies, stars, and planetary systems. Perhaps most intriguing, the telescope will allow us to view the light of stars formed a mere 400,000 years after the Big Bang and will expand our knowledge of how the universe we know today came to be.

Unfortunately, on July 13, 2011, the House Appropriations Committee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies voted to shut down the JWST program. This was devastating news for the scientific community and space enthusiasts in the United States and abroad. Within days of the announcement, we launched an online grassroots campaign (saveJWST) to the Save the James Webb Space Telescope, creating a Facebook fan page, online petition, and this blog. Our mission is to spread the word about the importance of the JWST and encourage people to contact their congressional representatives to save the program.

In an effort to raise public awareness for the troubled JWST, we are thrilled to announce The whyJWST Video Competition:

That's right, a Video Competition! If you feel passionately about the JWST and would like to see it fly; if you believe American science and our collective human destiny need this important successor to the Hubble to study exoplanets in search of life, to unlock the secrets of the birth of the universe and our future in it, then put in your two cents for thousands to see! Create a video celebrating and/or championing the JWST and submit it to the whyJWST Video Competition. Do this and you could win big. Your video can also help bring much needed attention to the funding troubles of the James Webb Space Telescope. The video can help to educate the public about JWST's fate. It can explore the science behind JWST. You can also direct the video as a plea toward Congress or the voting public. Your imagination is the only limit. Create a video and we will post the best submissions on the saveJWST youtube channel.

The Prize:
Our prize is astronomical. Literally:

One of the Faulkes Telescope
The winner of the whyJWST Video Competition will be granted 1 hour of access to the 2-meter Faulkes Telescope In Hawai'i or Australia to image any celestial object of their choosing (excluding planets in our Solar System) between 0900 and 1700 UT, Monday-Friday. The two telescopes, which cost $8 million each, have some of the most sensitive CCD (charged-coupled device) cameras in the world, and can be operated remotely from a personal computer.

Technical Prize Details: The winner will be able to log in with a specially created account, slew to the target, and image the heavens for 1 hour. If the hour is lost to weather or any technical issues, the account will have another 60 minutes granted to it. For more information about the Faulkes Telescopes, check out their website: Note that planets may not be observed, as they cause significant ghost image on the CCD.

Faulkes Telescope Hawaii. Click to Embiggen
How to Enter:
  • The whyJWST Video Competition ends Sunday October 9, 2011 at 11:59 pm. Videos will not be accepted after this deadline. The winner will be selected and announced by Friday October 21, 2011
  • All video submissions should be loaded directly onto your account. When you upload the video, you will have an opportunity to tag the video. Simply tag the video "whyJWST". Please see the video below for detailed instructions on how to upload a video onto
  • After the video is uploaded and appropriately tagged, you will need to send an email to Please include the following: Subject Line should read "whyJWST Video Competition." In the body of the email please include your 1) name, 2) email address, 3) a link to your whyJWST youtube video, 4) and a 10-character handle or username. The handle or username will be used to identify you as the video author if the video submission is posted publicly.
  • Videos may be no longer than 3 minutes in length.
  • Videos must be original. You must obtain a release for any persons or properties appearing in the video submission. This includes music or images protected by copyright, among other properties. See Original Work of Authorship section of the official rules, below.
  • The whyJWST Video Competition is open to any human on Earth or in Low Earth Orbit. However, only adults can submit a video. Whether or not a person is legally considered an adult will be defined by the standards and laws of the nation and jurisdiction in which that person resides. If you are underage and still wish to participate, then please have a parent or guardian submit your video on your behalf.
  • For any questions on how this process works, please send an email to For questions, please include the subject line "whyJWST Question".

Faulkes Telescope. Click to Embiggen
Legal Rules and Standards:
Eligibility:: Anyone is eligible to enter and participate. Entrants may be citizens of any nation on Earth. Submissions will be considered irrespective of national origin, religious background, political affiliation, gender, sex, ethnicity, age, or race. Minors of any nation may also participate, but must have a parent or guardian submit their video ON THEIR BEHALF. Minor status will be ascertained according to the customs and laws of the nation where the entrant resides.

Entry Rules:: First, the entrant must upload their video submission to their personal youtube account. Then, the entrant must tag the video submission specifically with the tag "whyJWST" on the youtube website.. Finally, the entrant must Send their name, email, entrant-created username or handle, and link to the youtube video submission to the following email address: By entering, each participant agrees to be bound by the rules and regulations of this competition. One Winner from the pool of entrants will be selected by a panel of judges comprised of saveJWST volunteers. The Winner will be selected on the success by which their video articulates an emotional and/or intellectual connection to the James Webb Space Telescope, as determined by the sole discretion of the judges. SaveJWST volunteers reserve the right to disqualify any submission saveJWST determines is offensive, inappropriate, not in keeping with saveJWST's image, or that an Entrant has not otherwise complied with these Official Contest Rules. The Winner will be selected on Friday October 21, 2011 by the judges, whose decision shall be final. The Winner will be notified by email to the email address provided in the Entrant's email within approximately 5 of days of the judging and are required to respond within 3 days of transmission of that email notice. If winner fails to respond within that time period, the prize will be forfeited and awarded to an alternate winner chosen from the remaining entrants in the pool. By entering, all entrants release saveJWST, and its volunteers, affiliates, subsidiaries, vendors, agencies, suppliers and all others associated with the development or execution of this Competition from any and all liability with respect to, or in any way arising from, this Contest or the acceptance, possession or use of any prizes including, without limitation, liability for any personal injury, damage or loss.

Faulkes Telescope. Click to Embiggen
Use of Entrant Information:: Entrant information will be used wholly by the saveJWST volunteers. However, an entry, except where prohibited by law, constitutes a grant of permission to saveJWST or its agents to include the winner's name in connection with a Winner's List without further notice. The use of personal contact information gathered in connection with this promotion will be treated in accordance with respect to privacy and not released to anyone under any condition OUTSIDE of this competition.The entrant is directed to created a username for the purposes of protecting the entrant's privacy.

Prizes: The winner of the whyJWST Video Competition will be granted 1 hour of access to the 2-meter Faulkes Telescope In Hawai'i or Australia to image any celestial object of their choosing (excluding planets in our Solar System) between 0900 and 1700 UT, Monday-Friday. The two telescopes, can be operated remotely from a personal computer. The winner will be able to log in with a specially created account, slew to the target, and image the heavens for 1 hour. If the hour is lost to weather or any technical issues, the account will have another 60 minutes granted to it. For more information about the Faulkes Telescopes, check out their website: Note that planets may not be observed, as they cause significant ghost image on the CCD.

Original Work of Authorship:

A) By submitting an entry, Entrant warrants, certifies and represents that: (i) the video submission is original to Entrant, he/she is the sole and exclusive owner of the copyrights in and to the video submission, and has obtained a release from all persons appearing in the video, and from all owners of property appearing in the video submitted for consideration; and (ii) Entrant has the full and exclusive right, power and authority to submit the video entry, and to grant the saveJWST volunteers the right to present the submission to the public, without further compensation.

B) If the submission contains any material or elements that are not owned by the Entrant and/or that are subject to the rights of third parties, the Entrant is responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the video, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the use and exhibition of the Video by the saveJWST volunteers. This includes, but is not limited to, music and images protected by copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret, right of privacy, right of publicity, and any other third party rights. Upon request, Entrant shall provide saveJWST with copies of all such consents/releases/permissions.

Faulkes Telescope. Click to Embiggen

Grant of License: By submitting an entry and in consideration of the opportunity to win the prize described herein which Entrant acknowledges is good and valuable consideration, Entrant grants the saveJWST volunteers the perpetual right and license to reproduce, distribute, transmit, and/or display any and all parts of the Video in all existing and future media, including but not limited to the saveJWST websites, or in any other manner in saveJWST's discretion, without attribution or further compensation. Use of a submission by the saveJWST volunteers does not suggest in any way that the Entrant is a winner.

Right of Privacy: By submitting an entry and in consideration of the opportunity to win the prize described herein which Entrant acknowledges is good and valuable consideration, Entrant grants the saveJWST volunteers the right and permission to use his/her name, voice, biographical information, likeness, and any other indication of Entrant's identity, and any statements made by Entrant, including excerpts thereof (collectively the "Publicity Rights"), in connection with the Entrant's video and the #whyJWST Video Competition, for use on the saveJWST websites and for display on the savetheJWST channel, in all forms of media, worldwide in perpetuity, without further notice or compensation, except where prohibited law. Entrant agrees to release and discharge the saveJWST volunteers from all claims for damages arising from or relating to publication, use or distribution of the Video and Publicity Rights.LEGAL WARNING: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN INDIVIDUAL, WHETHER OR NOT AN ENTRANT, TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE, DESTROY, TAMPER OR VANDALIZE THE WEBSITE ASSOCIATED WITH THIS PROMOTION, OR INTERFERE WITH THE OPERATION OF THE CONTEST, IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS, AND THE saveJWST VOLUNTEERS RESERVE THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES AND DILIGENTLY PURSUE ALL REMEDIES AGAINST ANY SUCH INDIVIDUAL TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

Faulkes Telescope. Click to Embiggen

Good Luck!

And follow the competition at our youtube channel: savetheJWST youtube channel

Faulkes Telescope Australia. Click to Embiggen

Monday, September 12, 2011

US Senate Subcommittee is Set to Vote Sep 14 2011

Greetings Science Warriors:

As you may have heard through our facebook page, the next vote for the fate of the James Webb Space Telescope has been tentatively scheduled for September 14th 2011 in the United States Senate (check this link for details). Instead of dealing with the US House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science we are dealing with the US Senate version of that same subcommittee.

While this is not a vote with the full House or the full Senate, this new vote is still vital to our efforts to save JWST. If we succeed in getting a positive vote now, it means the James Webb Space Telescope has a real chance to fly. Our plan is to get the word out to all of the JWST supporters and to have as many of you contacting Senators as possible. Together, we will be heard!

Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Now is the time to speak out. If you haven't contacted your senators yet then, please, take 5 minutes and send them an email or a fax right now. Take 10 minutes and call their office today and tell them that the James Webb Space Telescope should not be allowed to become the next failed Superconducting Super Collidor. Get as many friends as you can to do the same. Tell them that the United States of America deserves to keep our global leadership in science. Tell them that the US of A deserves to have these jobs. Tell them to properly fund the JWST!

And especially if you have already contacted your reps, then CONTACT THEM AGAIN.
If you are unaware of who your senators are, the click on this link to find out. If you need talking points, then read this fantastic summary about JWST (be sure to check out the MYTHS section!).

In addition to contacting your own Senators, send emails, faxes and phone calls to actual US Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science. You will find their contact information below:

Committee Membership

Majority Members (Democrats)
Member NameDC PhoneDC FAXContact Form
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) [Chairman]202-224-4654202-224-8858
Dan Inouye (D-HI)202-224-3934202-224-6747
Patrick Leahy (D-VT)202-224-4242202-224-3479
Herb Kohl (D-WI)202-224-5653202-224-9787
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)202-224-3841202-228-3954
Jack Reed (D-RI)202-224-4642202-224-4680
Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ)202-224-3224202-228-4054
Ben Nelson (D-NE)202-224-6551202-228-0012
Mark Pryor (D-AR)202-224-2353202-228-0908
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)202-224-2315202-228-6321
Minority Members (Republicans)
Member NameDC PhoneDC FAXContact Form
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) [Ranking Member]202-224-5922202-224-0776
Richard Shelby (R-AL)202-224-5744202-224-3416 …
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)202-224-2541202-224-2499 …
Lamar Alexander (R-TN)202-224-4944202-228-3398
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)202-224-6665202-224-5301 …
Ron Johnson (R-WI)202-224-5323202-228-6965 …
Susan Collins (R-ME)202-224-2523202-224-2693 …
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)202-224-5972202-224-3808 …

We can do this, Science Warriors. Check with the facebook page for updates


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Some Words from David Gaynes, Director of the Documentary "Saving Hubble"

(Science Warrors: Below is a guest post from the director of the documentary Saving Hubble, David Gaynes.)

To the Save JWST Community: Keep Fighting!

David Gaynes, Director of Saving Hubble
My name is David Gaynes and I am the director of Saving Hubble, a soon-to-be-completed documentary film about the people's successful battle to reinstate the Hubble Space Telescope in 2004-2005 (the film pairs that story, cleverly I hope, with reflections about humans and our connection to the universe). I am writing to ask for your support of our project, specifically because the success of Saving Hubble will also mean support for the saveJWST movement. We want to promote your cause and we want you to be our partners in letting the world know about Saving Hubble and our ambitious, non-profit, cross-country, grassroots distribution tour: The Hubble Roadshow.

Information about what Hubble Roadshow is about is online at our Kickstarter page:

Following is an excerpt of a letter I wrote in support of JWST to members of AURA, the organization that would ultimately administer the scientific use of Webb (as it does Hubble, via STSCi):

"The James Webb Space Telescope is in danger of being defunded at the hands
Hubble in Action
of a Congress whose shortsighted goals of slashing budgets will force us to relinquish our scientific and technical leadership. We are currently outinvested and in danger of being outperformed by other nations and this has grave consequences for our national prosperity, the educational prowess of the next generation of American citizens, and most importantly, the prospect of a deepened human understanding of the natural universe (something that affects citizens of the world, which has always been the highest contribution of American Democracy to human civilization)."

"As Webb continues to be jeopardized by a leadership that can't be trusted
to speak on behalf of its citizenry, we must demonstrate that the American public understands and values the innovation that has always been
the hallmark of our great democracy. The Hubble Roadshow and the
documentary Saving Hubble wish to contribute to the growing chorus of
people who believe that Webb, like the long embattled Hubble, like the
tragically defunct Supercollider, needs our voice. Understandably, there
are many issues that Americans of different political beliefs can and
should be passionate about. Space, a great unifier among policy debates, is the rare issue where we can establish consensus among traditional political enemies and is precious, exceptional opportunity regular citizens have to speak
on behalf of humanity above nationality. It is America's great pride to
have dreamt, built, launched, fixed, and operated the Hubble Space
Telescope. It is our great shame when we take programs that have been the
recipient of tremendous investment, that are universally accepted to be of
the highest scientific value, and abandon them. Hubble was saved more than
once from the shortsightedness of elected representatives. Webb, an
endeavor of Hubblesque proportion and scientific magnitude must not suffer because of a politicized, ineffectual legislature. This is the time to invest in our future, inspire the next generation, and lead the world to a new level of awareness."

Thank you for the opportunity to share what I'm doing with you. Let's all continue to do what we know in our hearts is the right thing, the only thing: we must stand up for humanity's right to comprehend the universe!

David Gaynes
Director, Saving Hubble