This page is meant to serve primarily as information for members of the AAS astronomical sciences community whose funding and/or employment is affected by the ongoing partial shutdown of the United States federal government. It can also be useful for the wider astronomy community and policymakers as a clearinghouse for information on the impacts from this ongoing shutdown. None of the information below should be taken as superseding guidance offered to federal employees or contractors by your employers. For federal workers, that guidance includes:
- US Office of Personnel Management Furlough Guidance
- Information About the Government Shutdown for NSF Employees
- NASA Shutdown Information (NEW Message to the Workforce from Bob Gibbs 22 January)
This page will be updated regularly. If you have corrections or additions to the information here, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please help your colleagues who may not have access to their professional email accounts (which might also be their primary AAS email addresses through which we could communicate with them) due to the shutdown by sharing this page with them through other channels.
- Members of the NASA Federal Credit Union may apply for 60-day-interest-free loans if they are experiencing furloughs or delayed paychecks as a result of the shutdown.
- Members of the community started a crowdfunding campaign specifically to support NASA Postdoctoral Fellows.
Updates to Deadlines, Events, Operating Status
- The nomination deadline for Astro2020 committee and panel membership, previously 22 January 2019, has been extended. The co-chairs will continue to accept committee nominations until a date to be determined. In the meantime, the committee formation process will begin and they will consider nominations received so far. [This may be further updated if the shutdown continues]
- The Science White Paper deadline remains 5:00pm Eastern, Tuesday, 19 February 2019. [This may be updated if the shutdown continues. A decision will be made on changing the deadline by 5 February]
NASA Proposal Deadlines
(Update 25 January) SMD Associate Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen issued the following information in a series of tweets (@Dr_ThomasZ) on 24 January:
"NASA recognizes that researchers plan research, budgets & hiring 6 − 12 months in advance due to proposal evaluation & selection timelines. Unfortunately, during the shutdown, Notices of Intent (NOIs) and proposal due dates have to be postponed to undetermined future dates. The postponements related to the partial government shutdown have introduced uncertainty into this planning and may lead to some adjustments. A blanket amendment to Research Opportunities in Space and Earth (ROSES) 2018 will be issued, noting that:
- All due dates should be assumed to be "TBD" as long as the government continues to be shut down.
- New dates will be announced as soon as possible once the government reopens
- The ROSES 2019 initially planned on Feb. 14 will be delayed significantly
- There will be no ROSES-18 or ROSES-19 proposal due dates earlier than 60 days following the end of the partial government shutdown."
(Previously) The updates below have been (or will soon be) updated on their respective NSPIRES pages, but note that they will NOT appear on the NASA Science RSS feed because that site is maintained by civil servants who are not working. Also note that NSPIRES and Grants.gov cannot support a date of “TBD” and thus all delayed programs are currently showing as being due April 29, 2019. That date is arbitrary; do not assume the revised deadline will be on or after it. New deadlines will be set once NASA returns to normal operations. If the partial federal shutdown extends past January 31, then NSPIRES will be unavailable due to a lack of funding.
- ROSES element B.13 Heliophysics Phase I DRIVE Science Centers Step-1: proposal due date is changed from February 1, 2019 to TBD.
- ROSES element B.14 Second Heliophysics Space Weather Operations to Research Step-1: proposal due date is changed from February 1, 2019 to TBD.
- ROSES Element C.3 Solar System Workings: proposal due date is changed from January 31, 2019 to TBD.
- ROSES Element C.28 Lunar Surface Instrument and Technology Payloads Step-2: proposal due date is changed from 17 January 2019 to TBD.
- ROSES Element C.29 Astrodynamics in Support of Icy Worlds Missions Step-1: proposal due date is changed from 18 January 2019 to TBD.
- ROSES Element D.3 Astrophysics Research and Analysis: mandatory NOI due date is changed from 24 January 2019 to TBD.
- ROSES Element D.8 Strategic Astrophysics Technology: mandatory NOI due date is changed from 24 January 2019 to TBD.
- ROSES Element D.10 NuSTAR Guest Observer – Cycle 5: Phase-1 proposal due date is changed from 25 January 2019 to TBD.
- ROSES Element E.4 Habitable Worlds: Step-2 proposal due date is changed from 17 January 2019 to TBD.
- Comments on the Draft Discovery Mission AO may continue to be sent after the 16 January deadline, and NASA may extend the deadline for comments once the agency returns to normal operations.
- Astrophysics Senior Review proposal due date has been changed to "TBD". A new date will be set and communicated to invited proposers when the government reopens.
- Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST): due date has been changed from February 1, 2019 to TBD.
NSF Proposal Deadlines
As stated on the information page for NSF grantees, all NSF proposal deadlines passing during the shutdown remain in place. Proposal preparation through NSPIRES is still available. Proposal processing and review upon submission, however, will not occur until normal operations resume.
Furlough/Funding Status of Observatories, Contractors, and Management Organizations
Generally speaking, we know that most contractor-operated facilities and programs are operating normally for now, but many will start to run into challenges if the shutdown persists to the end of January and especially well into February. That said, we do know of some furloughs that have started, including:
- NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Fellows (managed by USRA)
Furloughed contractors will not receive backpay after shutdown-related furloughs, unless legislation is passed and signed into law to ensure otherwise.
NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellows (AAPF) paychecks (paid monthly, directly through NSF) came in January, but they will not come 1 February without NSF resuming normal operations.
Operating status of observatories:
- NRAO: NSF has transferred sufficient funds to AUI so that the NRAO can continue operations through about 20 February 2019. The 1 February 2019 proposal submission deadlines for the NRAO Semester 2019B Calls for Proposals are unchanged. The assessment of submitted NRAO proposals and the time allocation processes for Semester 2019B, however, may be delayed if the partial shutdown continues beyond 20 February 2019. [18 January e-mail]
- Green Bank Observatory: NSF has transferred sufficient funds to AUI so that, combined with partnership funds, Green Bank can continue operations through at least 20 February 2019, and possibly longer. The 1 February 2019 proposal submission deadlines for 2019B Calls for Proposals are unchanged. If a proposal cannot be submitted due to the PI being furloughed, we strongly recommend you reach out to the GBT scheduler or helpdesk for options. The assessment of submitted proposals and the time allocation processes for Semester 2019B, however, may be delayed if the partial shutdown continues beyond 20 February 2019.
- The Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee (AAAC) meeting scheduled for 29−30 January will proceed (virtually, now) only if the government reopens by 28 January.
- NASA's Small Bodies Assessment Group (SBAG) meeting will proceed 29 − 31 January.
- NASA's Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG) meeting has been postponed and tentatively rescheduled for 23−24 April in the Washington, DC area.
- The JWST Users Committee (JSTUC) meeting has been postponed.
- The LRO SWG meeting has been canceled.
- At the AAS 233 meeting in Seattle, the joint PAG meeting (Sunday, 6 January) was cancelled, and the agendas for the ExoPAG, COPAG, and PhysPAG meetings were modified. The NASA Town Hall and JWST Town Hall were cancelled; the AAS hopes to facilitate virtual town halls once NASA returns to normal operations. The NSF Town Hall was delivered remotely.
- The abstract deadline for the "Space Astrophysics Landscape for the 2020s and Beyond" meeting has been extended to 5pm CST Thursday, 7 February. If the shutdown persists beyond that date, further extensions will be considered. Early registration still ends 1 March.
- The Mars Extant Life: What's Next conference, originally scheduled for 29 January − 1 February, has been postponed. The conference will be rescheduled at the same venue (Carlsbad, New Mexico) at a later date.
Share Your Shutdown Stories
How is the shutdown affecting you, personally and/or professionally? What are the consequences to the work you are doing? Sharing personal stories from constituents can be the most effective way to encourage policymakers to action.
ACTION ALERT: Call Congress, Ask them to End the Shutdown
Tell your representatives in Congress how the shutdown is impacting you in your professional and personal life, and ask them to pass legislation today that ends the shutdown, provides full-year spending to these agencies, and gets federal employees back to work. See the AAS Action Alert from 24 January for talking points and more information.
Share with the AAS
Please share your experience with the shutdown, particularly if your story might be unique or otherwise unknown to the AAS. We may not be able to directly assist in your specific situation, but we may be able to amplify it as part of our efforts to communicate the effects of the shutdown to policymakers. Email us at email@example.com.
- "'We Didn't Get Ph.D.s Just to Sit Around': Civil Servants' Good Will Erodes" (New York Times) [24 January]
- "Government Shutdown Creates Financial Woes, Uncertainty for Astronomers" (Sky and Telescope) [24 January]
- "Shutdown's toll mounts for NASA and companies"(SpaceNews) [24 January]
- "The shutdown could soon block telescopes' view of the heavens"(Washington Post) [23 January]
- "Trump's Shutdown Has Led To A 'Slow Strangling' Of American Science'(Huffington Post) [23 January]
- "House, Senate Unveil Omnibus Proposals to End Shutdown" (AAAS News) [22 January]
- "Shutdown could cost federal workers second paycheck" (Roll Call) [22 January]
- "Even giant federal contractors feeling shutdown's bite" (Politico) [20 January]
- "JPL May Have to 'Adjust Staffing Levels' If Government Shutdown Continues into February" (Pasadena Now) [19 January]
- "Surprise! Shutdown also disrupting U.S. science agencies that aren't closed" (Science Magazine) [19 January]
- "Shutdown stalemate spurs fears of exodus from NASA Ames" (Mountain View Voice) [18 January]
- "Trump's New Science Adviser Arrived Just in Time for a Shutdown" (Government Executive) [18 January]
- "The US government shutdown has lasted as long as 3.5 Apollo missions" (Nature) [18 January]
- "NASA postdocs hit by shutdown get emergency lifeline" (Nature) [18 January]
- "Giving a Hand to Students During Shutdown" (Inside HigherEd) [18 January]
- "Unpaid NASA workers protect critical missions during government shutdown" (CBS News) [18 January]
- Boulder's NCAR gets 30-day funding reprieve, but shutdown still impacting research" (DailyCamera Boulder News) [17 January]
- "US Government Shutdown Threatens Lasting Space Science Impact"(Cosmos Magazine) [16 January]
- "Government Shutdown Keeps Young Scientists in Limbo" (The Scientist) [16 January]
- "JPL is Still at Work, For Now" (SpaceNews) [15 January]
- "How the Government Shutdown Could Harm the Future of American Science" (The Verge) [13 January]
- "Science Put on Pause Under the Government Shutdown" (Science Friday) [11 January]
- NASA contractors struggle without pay during government shutdown -- and may never see the money" (Orlando Sentinel) [10 January]
- "As shutdown continues, so does damage to US Science" (Washington Post) [9 January]
- "Astrophysics meetings, but not missions, disrupted by government shutdown" (SpaceNews) [8 January]
- "Government Shutdown Puts Damper on America's Major Astronomy Conference" (Gizmodo) [7 January]
- Disruptive, disappointing, chaotic: Shutdown upends scientific research" (Washington Post) [28 December]