Continue to fund the Green Bank Telescope.
  • Petitioned National Science Foundation

This petition was delivered to:

National Science Foundation

Continue to fund the Green Bank Telescope.

    1. Jerry Beck II
    2. Petition by

      Jerry Beck II

      Sandusky, OH

I volunteer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, WV, home of the world's most advanced single dish radio telescope. Recently the National Science Foundation published a document called the portfolio review which recommends closing this telescope, and others by 2017, in order to build new telescopes. You the American taxpayer, own this marvelous instrument. Please sign this petition to keep one of the jewels of American technology and innovation operating for the future. 

Jerry Beck II



The GBT, located in Green Bank, West Virginia, is the largest and most capable fully steerable single-dish radio telescope in the world. It is a cutting-edge research instrument at the height of its powers, and it is continually growing more capable through the introduction of low-cost upgrades to its light detecting and processing electronics. It is the only world-class astronomical telescope in the eastern United States and has been in full scientific operation for less than 10 years.

Weighing sixteen million pounds, and able to precisely point its 2.3 acres of light-collecting surface area anywhere within all but the southernmost 15 percent of the celestial sphere, the $95 million GBT is an engineering and scientific marvel unlikely to be recreated, much less surpassed, by American astronomy for decades to come. Indeed, astronomers in other parts of the world are at work trying to build their own telescopes of similar concept and design to the GBT, but none of those telescopes will exceed its performance.

The GBT is used by astronomers and students around the world for important research. It is a powerful tool for searching out the molecular building blocks of life in space, for probing the nature of matter at extreme densities, for mapping diffuse clouds of intergalactic gas that are invisible to other telescopes, for finding beacons in space that can serve as mileposts for calibrating our understanding of cosmic distance scales and the characteristics of Dark Energy, for detecting gravity waves first predicted by Einstein, and for pioneering and experimenting with new observational tools and techniques.

The GBT's annual cost of operation is about 0.7 percent of the annual federal budget for astronomy and astrophysics, but the cost of replacing it, once it's gone, would be enormous. In an era of constrained budgets, leveraging and improving the existing state-of-the-art through low-cost technology upgrades (the development of which often involves students) is a cost-effective way to keep science moving forward. Today's GBT, because of such improvements, is 10 to 100 times more powerful than the original telescope, which entered full science operations in 2003. With small upgrades, the GBT has substantial potential to continue on this upward arc of increasing scientific power.

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 3,000 signatures
    2. A great site about saving the GBT!

      Jerry Beck II
      Petition Organizer

      Visit and see some great info!

    3. Reached 1,000 signatures
    4. Some great talking points about saving the GBT.

      Jerry Beck II
      Petition Organizer

      My friend Sarah Scoles has posted some great stuff on her blog. I recommend everyone take a look. Then you will be able to answer with good data the question your friends will inevitably ask: "Why?"

    5. Reached 250 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Janet Bryan HOT SPRINGS, VA
      • 9 months ago

      The small community of Green Bank WV depends on tourism and jobs provided by the observatory, please help them preserve this wonderful asset.

    • William Robbins BISHOP, CA
      • 10 months ago

      The VLBA is the worlds longest baseline facility, making it the largest single radio telescope in the world. The GBT is the largest "single dish" radio telescope in the world. The VLBA and GBT have received upgrades (so they are not outdated or aging, they are constantly re-vitalized) yet to be appreciated or used to their fullest extent and capability. They are capable (with capabilities being constantly improved) of working in tandem with the VLA, GBT, and VLBA all tied together at once. To kill funding and send an even larger sum of money to an overseas facility not only will inhibit the USA's students from having the best facilities in the world, but also our current Post-Doc Scientists already using these facilities. In short, if you want to sell out education, put Americans out of work, and send enormous amounts of money to other countries with no respect to our own country and it's science capability, and if the govt. wants to not utilize what we have (the best in the world), then close these facilities and commit the biggest astronomy mistake that our govt. could commit. Stop wasting our tax dollars on other countries and spend them on our country's facilities and people. "We The People" INSIST!

    • Adam Perez MCLEAN, VA
      • 11 months ago

      I love astronomy and the green bank telescope should be preserved in order to continue astronomical reserch

    • ingrid piel JAMAICA, NY
      • 11 months ago

      This telescope is one of the few ones of its kind in the world creating the amazing ability to research important data regarding the stars and other celestial bodies. It is important to keep this observatory here in the US in Greenbank to give our country the continued opportunity to advance in science and find out important things about the universe and life and be a leader in the world of science and research. It would be a great waste to close it and make telescopes elsewhere when we already have the best instrument right here. The observatory also provides ongoing opportunities for a free flow of education and innovation in research domestically and internationally which is part of the American outlook and democracy to advocate for open education. The observatoary is also an important and integral part of the Greenbank population and area providing needed employment and and an integral part of the community. It has also been funded by taxpayers whose money has not ben wasted so far but whose investment would be lost if it is discontinued. I urge you in the most strongest terms to continue the commitment and funding of this most unique and excellent obeservatory which has so much to offer. Thank you. Sincerely, Ingrid Piel

    • Stephen Patton MARSHALL, MO
      • about 1 year ago

      I am curious.


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