And yes, astronomy in particular, shares most of the knowledge it finds freely with anyone who wants it.
All major observatories have a freely searchable database. NASA, being publicly funded, have a policy of releasing all their data into the public domain as soon as its received.
Nearly all astronomy researchers put freely accessible copies of their published work on the internet for anyone to see, at https://arxiv.org/archive/astro-ph
The thing is, astronomy research has no inherent profit in it. The work astronomers do can (and often does) eventually have a strong impact on human technology and society but, at the time the scientists are still doing it? Not really.
Astronomy research is not done for profit and frequently involves collaborations which straight up ignore national borders and political matters, focusing on acquiring knowledge and sharing it freely.
Honestly, capitalists hate it.
I've seen a few people complain that the black hole picture is a waste, that humanity has our environment or povery or whatever else as a far far more immediate pressing matter than to take a photo that is 'an orange smear'.
The issue at hand here isn't science funding, the issue at hand is the total structure of industrial capitalism. If you cut astronomy funding to 0, how much do you think of that would go towards social projects? How much would go towards sustainable degrowth? How much would go towards ANYTHING that goes against tje ideological principles of neoliberal capitalism.
On the contrary, there are people who find a deep romantic wonder and an inherent artistic value in things like this. People finding wonder in the world, being humbled by the nature and otherness of it is a beautiful way to look at the world. Don't light your torches at astronomy, capitalism is your issue
The Event Horizon Telescope, incidentally, is a fantastic example of a large scale decentralised non-governmental collaboration.
That black hole image was taken using 8 separately managed radio telescopes scattered across the planet. It was organised by scientists working in 60 different research institutes in 17 countries across 6 continents. With no motive beyond trying to learn something which they didn't know before.
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