US to suspend Antarctic research during shutdown
Washington: The US National Science Foundation (NSF) said it will suspend its research programmes in Antarctica if the US government shutdown continues for another week.
"Without additional funding, NSF Tuesday directed its Antarctic support contractor to begin planning and implementing caretaker status," reported Xinhua citing NSF statement.
Under caretaker status, the US Antarctic Programme will be staffed at the minimum level needed to ensure human safety and preserve government properties, including the three primary research stations, ships and associated research facilities, the agency said.
"All field and research activities not essential to human safety and preservation of property will be suspended," it added.
The foundation has informed researchers that it will have to suspend work on several major construction projects if the shutdown continues beyond Oct 31.
The busiest season of the Antarctic research programme runs from October to February. For the 2014 fiscal year, which began Oct 1, the NSF had requested $465 million to support its polar programmes.
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