That’s what this Scientific American column is saying, pretty much. I can’t beat illustrator Kalliopi Monoyios’ blog-ready headline: 5 Reasons Your Camera Won’t Steal My Job:
While the Hubble space telescope (and friends) have far exceeded expectations in obtaining the most mind-blowing pictures of galaxies, nebulae, supernovae, etc., all of this is done from insanely far away. All of the cool facts we know about these distant places are derived from calculations. But calculations don’t inspire Congress to fund space exploration. And they certainly don’t inspire the mainstream. But put out a press release with an alien landscape describing some Earth-like planet 480 light-years away and sha-zzam! Suddenly people are professing their undying love for NASA and demanding they get funded. Or something like that.