[FPSPACE] FW: Cornell Chronicle: Congress gets bill to save Arecibo Observatory
ljk4 at msn.com
Wed Oct 3 23:00:08 EDT 2007
>From: Cornell Chronicle Online <cunews at cornell.edu>
>Reply-To: Cornell Chronicle Online <cunews at cornell.edu>
>To: CUNEWS-PHYSICAL_SCIENCE-L at cornell.edu, CUNEWS-CAMPUS-L at cornell.edu,
>CUNEWS-SCIENCE-L at cornell.edu
>Subject: Cornell Chronicle: Congress gets bill to save Arecibo Observatory
>Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2007 17:42:18 -0400
>Chronicle Online e-News
>Congress gets bill to save Arecibo Observatory
>Oct. 3, 2007
>By Lauren Gold
>LG34 at cornell.edu
>Congressmen Luis Fortuño of Puerto Rico and Dana Rohrabacher of California
>have introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to ensure
>continued operation of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. They want to
>guarantee future federal funding for the astronomical and radar-imaging
>"The bill is an appeal for the NSF [National Science Foundation] and NASA
>to get together and talk about how they might jointly work to maintain the
>science program at Arecibo," said Robert Brown, director of Cornell's
>National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, which manages the facility for
>the NSF. Brown, also an adjunct professor of astronomy at Cornell, said:
>"It doesn't ask for something new; rather, it seeks to maintain what goes
>on at the moment. The observatory is really an icon to the people of Puerto
>Rico -- it allows young people see ... that Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans
>can be successful scientifically on a world stage."
>The observatory is facing severe federal budget cuts by 2011 as the result
>of an NSF Senior Review panel recommendation last year. The observatory has
>reduced its operating budget from $10 million to $8 million since last
>year, and funding will remain level over the next three years.
>Fortuño and others in Congress have also written to the NSF seeking
>reconsideration of the recommended budget cuts. Fortuño noted that the
>radio astronomy and radar capabilities of the facility are critical to
>detection and tracking of near-Earth objects (NEOs), including asteroids
>that could pose a hazard of catastrophic destruction and loss of life.
>The legislation introduced by Fortuño and Rohrabacher would mandate the
>continued operation of the facility and would support the mission of NASA
>with respect to NEOs, as well as research for scientific and educational
>purposes important to Puerto Rico and the rest of the nation.
>Fortuño said: "Nobel Prize-winning research has been conducted at Arecibo
>in the past and may be again in the future, unless the observatory is
>closed for short-sighted reasons. Maintaining this facility is an
>investment in our nation's future. The cost is small compared to the
>benefits for America and mankind."
>Said Rohrabacher: "Arecibo is a key resource in understanding the
>characteristics of potentially hazardous asteroids and comets so that they
>can be dealt with effectively. There is no room for error when it comes to
>eliminating a threat that could kill millions."
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