Adapting adaptive optics
> OpTIIX is exciting because if the "adaptive optics" experiment is successful, it'll pave the way for much larger, free-flying telescopes in the future
Uhhh, don't almost all ground-based professional telescope already use AO? Haven't they developed it for many years in order to reduce the effect of atmospheric turbulence on their cameras. Why would you need to put this as an "experiment" on a space-based telescope that was above the atmosphere, if you only want to look at stars through it?
However, if you wanted a space-based telescope that was looking downwards through the atmosphere, to spy on people then I can see the benefit - and where the funding would come from.
Now, I appreciate that vibration from all the machinery inside the ISS makes it a no-no for anything that needs precision pointing, but the simple solution to that is (as has been done since the beginning of the space era) is to NOT put your telescopes on a platform that wobbles it's way around the planet. Hubble, JWT and all the other observation satellites managed this decades ago, so it's mystifying why we suddenly need a telescope on what is probably the least suitable orbital location.
I can see that some of the other attributes of this experiment: kit telescopes, are useful. But AO on an extra-atmospheric 'scope? What's it really meant for?