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NASA reverses decision on Arecibo radar
Updated: Fri, Dec 21, 2001, 8:48 AM ET (1348 GMT)
Originally Posted: Thu, Dec 20, 2001, 10:20 AM ET (1520 GMT)
Arecibo radio observatory (NAIC) One day after NASA announced it would end planetary radar work at the Arecibo radio observatory, the agency partially reversed itself, restoring most of the funding for the program in 2002. NASA said Wednesday it would end the program, used to study the shapes of asteroids as well as studies of other solar system bodies, effective January 1. On Thursday, though, NASA officials said they would instead trim the budget from $550,000 to $400,000, and subject it to peer review in future years, according to SPACE.com. The decision to completely stop planetary radar work was strongly objected by scientists and organizations like the Planetary Society. NASA officials also said they will try to persuade the National Space Foundation, which contributes the majority of Arecibo's $11 million budget, to support the planetary radar work. NASA had said that it had to take $3.5 million from other programs, including the Arecibo radar, to pay for near-Earth object (NEO) searches, as part of a Congressional mandate to discover all NEOs one kilometer and larger in diameter by 2008.
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