Science and the shutdown: 5 things to watch as US impasse drags on - - Fri 11 Jan 06:46 GMT

Science and the shutdown: 5 things to watch as US impasse drags on -

A second wave of closures looms as the government funding fight barrels towards a record-breaking fourth week.

  The Environmental Protection Agency, NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) are among the science agencies that have stopped processing grant applications, cut off access to key data sets and temporarily shuttered federal labs and offices.

  Further delays could make it hard for scientists to compare data from this year’s planned winter survey to previous observations, because the team won't be able to observe some seasonal events, such as the spawning of certain fishes.

  “We don’t know if we’ll be able to do a delayed or truncated cruise or — likely at this point — we’re going to have to abandon this quarter’s data altogether,” says Brice Semmens, the director of CalCOFI, which is run as a partnership between NOAA, the California state government and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California.

  Some government science agencies, including the NSF and NASA, are searching for loopholes that would allow them to continue doling out cash to keep big projects and research centres running.

  One project that is poised to benefit from such efforts is NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory, which was to run out of money on 22 January.