Monday , May 23 2022

The government put a damper on fighting the Conference of America on Astronomy


The SOFIA telescope, shown above, was supposed to fly to the conference. This will not happen, due to the government shutdown.
Photo: NASA / Jim Ross

As the government's closure of US decline, scientists are beginning to see the effects firsthand closing.

The American Society Astronomical (AAS) estimated that 300-450 people, or 10 to 15 percent of registrants, could not attend the conference & # 39; its astronomy at & # 39; Seattle this week , although that number can & # 39; be underestimated. Scientists reported standing at the last minute for talks intended to be surrounded by colleagues and noted the cancellation of & # 39; important sessions run by NASA.

"There is a sense of & # 39; boredom do not have many of our key colleagues here to talk about things," John O & # 39; Meara, a leading scientist in W.M. The Keck Observatory in Hawaii, which is currently at the conference, told Gizmodo. "All we are striving to give them talks, which lowers the quality of & # 39; event."

The government has partially closed as of 22 December, as the President Trump refused to sign any account without cash appropriations for border fence. essential employees in agencies whose funding expired canceled. This means that the NASA employees, for example, can not attend to their professional duties, including participating in the conference AAS.

Gizmodo sky & # 39; of & # 39 stories; NASA scientists not to give presentations to fill in & # 39; name several speakers absent; trips canceled place for experiments like NASA SOFIA telescope, a Boeing 747 modified to function as an observatory in the air; and general cloud over the conference. The meeting would be the first chance for the team behind the mission & # 39; hunting & # 39; the exoplanet TESS to advertise his most new results to the wider scientific community & # 39 ;, but most of its scientists are measured.

O & # 39; Meara supposed to cover two talks of his NASA colleagues on the concept of LUVOIR telescope. He was able to pass from one to another collaborator sessions, but said he felt weird coating for the main project engineer, Matt BOLCAR NASA.

"I'm not the engineer of & # 39; LUVOIR," said O & # 39; Meara. "It's a bit strange to have to do his talk, but we make them out there."

The sources noted that AAS and astronomers added to ensure that the conference works well and switching remains & # 39; under the surface. The AAS has made efforts to simplified its plenary sessions, and removed policy prohibiting the co-authors to submit research to the co-authors are able to look out for potentially impaired first authors. Allow registrants to create online posters and find ways to hold some sessions in almost & # 39; a later date. This includes NASA town hall, one of the talks over attending the conference, which was canceled.

"On the surface, it will be okay," Jessie Christiansen, deputy head & # 39; the NASA exoplanet archive in the United exoplanets NASA Institute of Science and Technology Institute & # 39 ; California, told Gizmodo. "It's just a shame. Time is really disappointing for people who were much work to lead to this." The conference is an important time for astronomers to meet face to face, plan and share results, something that can not fully take place this year.

The executive officer Kevin Marvel AAS issued a statement in & # 39; the name of the organization:

It is true disappointment scientists work very hard to seek to explore and understand the universe in & # 39; the name of the American public and share their results with their colleagues and really run & # 39; over the our knowledge are basically not allowed to do so by & # 39; political impasse. In the same week that the Chinese government land Rover on Mars and the United States send a probe to the more object ever visited mankind, scores & # 39; scientists at all career levels are being prevented from attending our meeting. On a practical level, our community depends on whoever shows and share and support each other in our common search. Now we move on schedules, figure out how we will cover sessions & # 39; missing speakers and even missing chairs the sessions, how to fill the gap in the hall of our poster and x & # 39; do not & # 39; exhibits that can not be stopped and will remain in a box in storage during our meeting. This closure is & # 39; disruptive for us as an organization, disrupting the science of astronomy and will have unknown impacts on the progress of discovery in astronomy. Let's hope that the issues that led to the closure be resolved quickly.

The closure affected science beyond also astronomy. Just last week, Earther reported that the closure was preventing scientists from attending the largest conference in the world weather.

Researchers affected by professionally unable to attend conferences, and personally affected by not receiving their pay checks. Then there are the costs of researchers spent time and money to prepare for and attend the conference, efforts now went wasteful.

Meanwhile, it appears that little progress has been made to the partial closure ends.

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