Press Release

Statement on NSF Record of Decision on Arecibo Observatory

By SpaceRef Editor
November 17, 2017
Filed under , ,
Statement on NSF Record of Decision on Arecibo Observatory

On Nov. 15, 2017, the National Science Foundation (NSF) signed its Record of Decision
for the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. This important step
concludes the agency’s decision-making process with respect to the
general path forward for facility operations in a budget-constrained
environment and provides the basis for a future decision regarding a new

NSF issued its Record of Decision following authorization from the
National Science Board on Nov. 9, 2017. That followed an extensive
environmental impact analysis and broad input from the public and the
scientific community, including the National Academies 6th Decadal Survey released in 2010, the NSF Division of Astronomical Sciences Portfolio Review Committee Report released in 2012 and the NSF Geospace Sciences Portfolio Review Committee Report released in 2016.

The decision formalizes the selection of NSF’s preferred alternative:
to collaborate with interested parties to maintain science-focused
operations at the observatory with reduced agency funding. This plan
will allow important research to continue while accommodating the
agency’s budgetary constraints and its core mission to support
cutting-edge science and education.

NSF remains deeply concerned about the impacts from recent hurricanes
on Arecibo Observatory staff, the facility and all citizens of Puerto
Rico. The Record of Decision arrives at a challenging time, but is
necessary for the agency to secure a future for the observatory. It will
allow negotiations to begin with potential collaborators who may take
over management and operations as NSF funding for the observatory is

SpaceRef staff editor.