WHAT'S NEW, Friday, 1 September 1989 Washington, DC
"THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES," BY DAN QUAYLE.
In an August 11
interview on Cable Network News, the head of the National Space
Council, Vice President Dan Quayle, explained why the US should
undertake a manned mission to Mars: "Mars is essentially in the
same orbit. Mars is somewhat the same distance from the sun,
which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are
canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, there is
oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe."
. TOP GOVERNMENT SCIENTISTS MAY SOON EARN MORE THAN DAN QUAYLE.
Senior weapons scientists in the DOD and DOE could draw annual
salaries as high as $134,250, 50% above Civil Service maximum, if
the Senate gets its way in conference with the House. As many as
500 scientists and engineers could be affected. Congressmen, by
contrast, earn $89,500, and the Vice-President is paid $115,000.
Although the measure was supported by better than two to one in
the Senate, it is expected to be opposed by the House when the
Defense Authorization goes to conference. DOE would also be
allowed to exempt 25 officials from the revolving-door law. For
two years after leaving government service, federal employees are
currently barred from working for the same contractors they may
have been enriching, but Secretary of Energy Watkins wants to be
able to borrow senior scientists from the national laboratories.
3. THE BROOKHAVEN ALTERNATING GRADIENT SYNCHROTRON USERS GROUP
has mounted a lobbying effort to restore the $10M the Senate cut
from the FY 90 AGS budget
(WN 28 Jul 89). "The proposed cut means
the end of particle physics at the AGS," according to a statement
circulated by the Chairman of the AGS Users Group. "While it has
been assumed that some existing facilities will be closed when
the SSC becomes operational," the statement says, "it was never
envisioned by any of the advisory panels that a major assault
would begin on existing facilities 10 years in advance of the
SSC." Citing rumors of a 50% cut for SLAC and Fermilab in FY 91,
the statement says closing these facilities in a few years could
"kill the future of the field." The only chance to restore the
AGS funds will be when a Conference Committee meets after Labor
Day to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions.
Although the House did not target a particular program, it did
take a big cut from General Science and Research
(WN 30 Jun 89).
4. THE FINAL YEAR "CUSPEA" STUDENTS ARE ARRIVING ON SCHEDULE
US universities, in spite of concerns following the crushing of
the pro-democracy demonstrations in June. The China-US Physics
Examination and Application program was originally scheduled to
end three years ago, but was extended to 1989 at a reduced level
of about 75 students/year. Most of this year's 74 have arrived. A
recent visitor to China reports that the incoming student body at
Chinese universities this fall has been drastically cut. The cuts
were imposed without consultation with the university presidents.