US shutdown heads south; Antarctic stations shuttered
WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States (US) federal government shutdown is reaching all the way down to the South Pole.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced on Tuesday that it is putting its three Antarctic scientific stations in deep freeze just as scientists are starting to arrive for the start of a new research season.
The NSF runs three stations in Antarctica spending just under US$400 million (S$500 million) a year there. It often takes weeks for some 1200 researchers who spend Antarctic spring and summer there to get to the southern continent by boat or plane.
"This is absurd, just absurd," said Mr Alan Leshner, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the nation's largest science organisation. "It's a very big logistical enterprise and this could jeopardise the entire research season for hundreds of important projects."