The United States Antarctic Program announced today that with the end of the shutdown, the research season can finally get under way in Antarctica. This is the beginning of the austral summer, when scientists funded by the National Science Foundation can work out of the three permanent U.S. stations in the Antarctic. But the shutdown forced NSF to suspend all work and put the facilities on caretaker status _ until today.
In its announcement, the Antarctic Program noted that some scientists and support staff who were scheduled to go to Antarctica during the federal shutdown had their travel disrupted or canceled. Many others who were already there had to wait it out at the research stations while their equipment was boxed up and couldn't be used.
The Antarctic Program said that in the days ahead, work will be under way to "recover planned research and operations activities to the extent possible."
But time lost in the seasonal window of opportunity for research could be costly. The statement about science going ahead added: "It must be understood that due to seasonally dependent windows and logistic limitations, certain research and operations activities may be deferred."