NASA ban on Chinese sparks boycott

A number of prominent American astronomers are boycotting a NASA conference on exoplanets after they realized that the US government space agency has banned Chinese scientists to attend.

The ban is based on a law passed in 2011 that prevents NASA funds from being used to collaborate with China or host Chinese nationals at NASA facilities, according to AP.

Chinese researchers who work at US universities and other institutions reportedly were refused admission.

The law Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 says œNone of the funds made available by this Act may be used for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) or the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to develop, design, plan, promulgate, implement, or execute a bilateral policy, program, order, or contract of any kind to participate, collaborate, or coordinate bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese-owned company unless such activities are specifically authorized by a law enacted after the date of enactment of this Act.”

It also stipulates that the ban œshall also apply to any funds used to effectuate the hosting of official Chinese visitors at facilities belonging to or utilized by NASA.”

The conference is planned to take place in November at NASA™s Ames Research Center in California. Attendees will include American and international teams who work on NASA’s exoplanet-hunting Kepler space telescope program.

Among the prominent scientists who are leading the boycott are Debra Ann Fischer, professor of astronomy at Yale University and Geoff Marcy astronomy professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

œIn good conscience, I cannot attend a meeting that discriminates in this way. The meeting is about planets located trillions of miles away, with no national security implications,” Marcy wrote in an email to the organizers, according to AFP.

British Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees branded the ban œa deplorable own goal by the US”, The Guardian reported.

DB/DB

Copyright: Press TV