'via Blog this'
I understand that we can't keep every mission going for as long as they retain at least some function. Not everything is a Voyager or Opportunity. Some missions have simply lost so much functionality that the cost of maintaining the mission with a full up NASA staff has become economically unviable. This is bound to occur, even at the best of times.
But a loss of some functions is not a complete loss, at least not always. It would be nice to have some way of continuing what scientific or observational functions a satellite may have after being decommissioned by NASA. I think it would be awesome if there was a way, some system, that allows companies and universities to buy or use defunct satellites. Hopefully, what's going on with the GALEX* satellite will set a precedent for creating such a system.
Now, there is one sorta downside to this. In good times, when the socio-politco-economic climate is such that we can engage in science with wanton abandon (or at least in carefully reasoned fits of wanton abandon), there won't be a lot of semi-functional satellites available. But they probably wouldn't be needed anyway, so that's fine. On the other hand, in bad times there will be more, and better functioning, satellites available simply because more satellites would get the official axe.
This has possibilities...
*Totally a name from Dr. Who, or oughta be.