Budget lock: How the shutdown paralyzes the US science

NASA officially closed, research data blocked, work ban for scientists: The week-long "shutdown" is increasingly affecting scientists in the US.

For about three weeks, a budget freeze has paralyzed large sections of the US government. The "shutdown," which sparked the conflict between Republicans and Democrats over the financing of a wall on the border with Mexico (read the background here), not only affects politics, but also science. An overview.

Many of the approximately 800,000 government employees involved are scientists. Many authorities continue to employ only those whose work is considered "absolutely necessary". According to the National Science Foundation NSF, for example, according to the journal "Nature", these are just under 60 out of 2000 employees, of the NOAA 5500 from 11,400 for the climate and weather agency, and about 750 out of more than 14,000 for the environmental protection organization EPA.

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If you do not want to come to the office due to the shutdown, it is also forbidden to work in the home office. Not even e-mails are allowed to be read by forced vacationers, and access to important data on government servers is blocked . As a result, numerous research projects had to be stopped , new data could not be collected in many places, conferences had to be canceled or had to be held on a much smaller scale because researchers were not allowed to take the planned business trips.

NASA has closed

"I'm not allowed to work, I'm not allowed on business trips, I'm not allowed to use my service laptop," NASA researcher Jane Rigby wrote on Twitter. "May I think about the universe, unclear."

"NASA is currently closed due to a failure of government funding," according to the US Space Agency website. Although the mission has already started, it will continue to work - but only the staff absolutely necessary for the smooth running of these missions may continue to work.


Screenshot of the Nasa homepage

The Press and Public Relations Department, for example, is not one of them, and so the press releases, which are otherwise several times a day, are currently missing. At the moment everything still runs reasonably normal, one hears from NASA. If the shutdown continues, delays in planned missions are possible.

Smithsonian? Also tight

Some of the staff of many natural science museums, national parks and zoos in the US also have to stay home at present - and many facilities remain closed during the "shutdown" for visitors.

For example, the 19 Smithsonian facilities in the capital Washington, including the zoo. In New York, for example, the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum and the Museum of Native American History are closed. Much of the national park is still open, but with minimal staff - but in many cases with closed toilets and overflowing rubbish bins.

REF: http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/mensch/shutdown-nasa-wegen-haushaltssperre-geschlossen-a-1247558.html