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Science Shutdown Shutout
News Bytes 01/8/2019 13 Comments

The world’s largest airborne observatory was supposed to arrive in Seattle this week. But thousands of scientists attending the “Super Bowl of Astronomy” won’t see NASA’s space-exploring plane. The 747’s visit to the 233rd Meeting of the American Astronomical Society is canceled. The withdrawal is due to the partial government shutdown now stretching into its third week.

Politicians in Washington are stuck trying to resolve an impasse over President Donald Trump’s demand for $5.6 billion to build a wall on the U.S.’s southern border. (See WORLDteen’s “Government Shutdown Looms.”)

The plane isn’t the only thing missing from that and other scientific conferences held this week: Hundreds of government scientists won’t attend either.

Keith Seitter, executive director of the American Meteorological Society, says the shutdown’s impact stretches beyond absences at this week’s conferences. It also means some of the nation’s best scientific minds are sitting at home, not doing science. “That’s difficult to recover from,” he says.

Event attendees describe the yearly conferences as crucial opportunities for scientists to exchange research and ideas.

“That’s the value . . ., the people I run into in the hallway or the coffee line, start up a conversation and realize there’s a connection between what they’re doing and what I’m doing,” says satellite imaging expert Amanda O’Connor.

Some 700 federal employees who planned to attend the American Meteorological Society conference in Phoenix are staying home. Another 500 will miss an aeronautics forum in San Diego. The American Astronomical Society estimates 300-450 scientists will be absent from their annual meeting, where the NASA plane was supposed to be. It’s hard to get a firm count: Organizers emailed a survey—but affected government employees aren’t allowed to check their emails.

(NASA’s airborne observatory, SOFIA, with its telescope door open during a test flight. Jim Ross/NASA via AP)

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Most recent comments


That's kinda sad, the "airborne observatory" looks really cool! And the whole government shutdown thing is confusing to me...


Its ridiculous that the Democrats wont' give the president the money he needs for border security. Its a good think President Trump is standing his ground. If he has to shut down the government to protect us, then go ahead. Its too bad that the NASA meeting was canceled, but maybe his point is finally getting through.


Super Bowl of Astronomy Never heard of it but it sounds kinda interesting


Speaking of Superbowl. Who's following the NFL, and who are you cheering for?


Rams are the best


Go Chargers! I normally don't really cheer for them but if they beat the Pats then they are my new favorite team! :)


Definitely the Chiefs!!!

What if

What if we don't really need a border wall? One thing I do not understand is where we are going to get all the money we need for it, plus all the money needed to run other government programs. I believe that we should try to clear up the debt problems we have, and a border wall will not help with that from a financial standpoint.
A problem that this government shutdown is causing is that people start dealing with their taxes really soon, and with the IRS closed it will make everything even crazier than it is. I hope that our government can come together and agree on a budget soon. I also hope that both groups will both be willing to both give a little and get along.


Wow, this partial government shutdown is really influencing everything. You should see Government Shutdown Looms and The President Addresses the Nation if you haven't yet.


Putting up the wall will help make the U.S. a safer place. And I agree with it. But the shutdown is wrong. President Trump should discuss with the other part of the government and work it out. How does he think he's going to get $5.6 billion by just demanding?


That would have been cool. Thanks a lot TRUMP (said sarcastically)

How about

How about we take all the money for the wall... and give it to nasa

A.R. @ Zack

Then we could protect ourselves from and alien invasion! : )

Actually, I think the wall is a good idea.

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