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GOP Will Be Delighted - Shutdown Would End Key NASA Arctic Ice Field Mission - NYT

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 12:09 PM
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GOP Will Be Delighted - Shutdown Would End Key NASA Arctic Ice Field Mission - NYT

For the past three weeks, NASA researchers and crew have been surveying Arctic land and sea ice using specially equipped aircraft. The work is part of a larger project, "Operation IceBridge," designed to fill a gap between NASA's now-defunct ICESat satellite and its replacement, which isn't scheduled to launch until 2016.

But now it appears that stopgap effort would itself grind to a halt if Congress and President Obama cannot agree on a new budget before the measure now funding federal operations expires on April 8. "ALL NASA IceBridge personnel now in Greenland would return home if there is a government shutdown," agency spokesman Steve Cole said in an email yesterday.

That means sending NASA's P-3B research plane back to the Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's eastern shore. The space agency's King Air plane would return to its home at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

IceBridge scientists said they're concerned that even a brief shutdown would end this year's Arctic field campaign, which is scheduled to proceed through mid-May. "The question is whether it would be restarted," said Ken Jezek, a geophysicist at Ohio State University and the Science Definition Team co-leader for the NASA research effort.

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