The Waste Land

APRIL is the cruellest month, sending
Clover into the dead land, ditching
The great for the dire, erring
Dead heads caused spring pain.
Keith Mason fucked it up, smothering
Good science with tons of shit, ending
Our little dream; we’re the losers.

After The Waste Land, Part I: The Burial of the Dead, by T.S. Eliot.

3 Responses to “The Waste Land”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    Nice parody, but in a deep recession the people who have to decide what to cut are never going to be popular. I would not dare to judge which projects should lose and which should stay, because I don’t have the necessary knowledge.

  2. telescoper Says:


    I agree – I’ve been on those sorts of panels and I know how difficult it can be. However, it is rumoured that the extra money needed for Clover (which was high up the priority list) is about the same as the money spent on a daft space lunar orbiter called Moonlite. By sheer coincidence, Moonlite involves a major stake from MSSL, which just happens to be the home institute of the Chief Executive.

    I realize how these decisions are tough, but I don’t think you can justify scrapping potentially Nobel-prize quality experiments in favour of missions with negligible scientific value.


  3. Bryn Jones Says:

    Moonlite is a rather odd proposal: the idea is to fire missiles into the Moon, containing robust (hopefully robust) scientific equipments instead of the explosive. If the scientific data can escape from the holes, the probes would return some information about the Moon a few metres below the surface. The mission would be British-led, at a cost well in excess of 100 million pounds (perhaps closer to 200 million). If successful, it would provide moderately useful data on the lunar subsurface in advance of a manned return. If not successful, it would be Beagle 2 times 10, including enormous embarrassment, and the cost might just close down much of British ground-based astronomy. Beagle 2 technological development did have useful peaceful spin offs, but it is not clear to me that Moonlite would.

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