Arecibo Vote on National Science Board Agenda
The National Science Foundation appears close to making a decision that will determine the future of the Arecibo Observatory, a 54-year-old radio telescope in Puerto Rico. The National Science Board, NSF’s 25-member governing board, is scheduled to take a vote this week during closed session related to the agency’s yet-to-be-released “Record of Decision” for Arecibo. NSF completed an environmental impact assessment of potential decisions this August, ranging from deconstructing the facility to establishing a partnership that would permit continued science-focused operations — the agency’s preferred option. The record of decision will also reflect NSF’s consideration of scientific, budgetary, and programmatic factors.
Arecibo aside, the board will discuss a wide range of topics when it meets in person on Wednesday and Thursday at NSF’s new headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. Among the open session agenda items are discussion of major research facility oversight, a new charge for the board’s Task Force on the Skilled Technical Workforce, NSF’s “big idea” for multi-messenger astrophysics, and the forthcoming release of the 2018 Science and Engineering Indicators — a biennial statistical overview of the U.S. and global research landscape.