After Hubble

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Science  24 Apr 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6233, pp. 388-391
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6233.388

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The Hubble Space Telescope's images—particularly its "deep field" views of the early universe—have transformed astronomy. Now, as Hubble enters its final years, astronomers are wondering what instruments will deliver similar revelations in the future. NASA's big plan for a follow-up space observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope, has survived a near-death experience and is now on track for launch in 3 years—but at a cost so steep, amid stagnating government funding, that it has squeezed out or delayed other missions. Casualties include the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope, the International X-ray Observatory, and the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna. Astronomers working to rescue these projects and develop new ones face hard fights to get their missions off the ground.