Arecibo saved?

Happy New Year, Happy Arbitrary Calendrical Fiducial Point or Happy Arbitrary Orbital Marker whichever you prefer.

Over on Twitter, GeoSteph pointed me towards a summary of fiscal 2008 funding for NASA that was approved by President Bush on 26th December. Not being in the US system I'm not entirely sure what to make of it although it does appear to be a bit less than the amounts proposed by the House and the Senate. However planetary science appears to have got slightly more than requested. One point in the summary that jumped out at me was a specific mention of the Arecibo Observatory. Over the past couple of years the US National Science Foundation (NSF) has proposed large cuts in the funding of the world's largest radio telescope (single dish) and threatened closure by 2011. The approved Omnibus spending bill appears to demand that NASA not let this happen:

Further, the Appropriations Committees are concerned that NASA may reduce support for the Arecibo Observatory which is used by NASA to observe and detect NEOs. The Committees believe that this observatory continues to provide important scientific findings on issues of near-space objects, space weather, and global climate change, as well as numerous other research areas. The Committees believe that these endeavors will have scientific merit far beyond the end of the decade. NASA is directed to provide additional funding for the Arecibo Observatory.

The text only seems concerned about the near Earth object (NEO) tracking, space weather and climate change but I hope this will also protect the great astrophysics done by the Observatory such as pulsar observations and the GALFACTS spectro-polarimetric survey.

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Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Tuesday 01st Jan 2008 (04:31 GMT) | Permalink
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