Clinton Introduces Legislation to Support Cornell's Innovative Observatory in Puerto Rico

Press Release From: Sen. Clinton
Posted: Friday, April 18, 2008


Legislation Ensures Full Funding for Ground-breaking Scientific Work of Cornell University's Arecibo Observatory

Washington, DC - Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced that she has introduced legislation to ensure continued support for Cornell University's innovative Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Senator Clinton's bill directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fully fund the Observatory's cutting-edge research on Earth's ionosphere, the solar system and radio astronomy. Congressman Luis G. Fortuno introduced a similar bill in the House.

"Cornell University scientists have used the remarkable tools available at Arecibo Observatory to greatly expand our understanding of the universe. I am proud to support the path-blazing accomplishments of these New Yorkers and the historic relationship between New York and Puerto Rico," Senator Clinton said. "I have been pleased to work with Congressman Fortuno to ensure that the important research at Arecibo Observatory continues for years to come."

"I want to thank Senator Clinton for helping us make the case that federal funds should be appropriated to save the Arecibo Observatory," Congressman Fortuno said. "Senator Clinton's measure, a bill that I have introduced in the House, is clearly rooted in her recognition of the Observatory's scientific importance and its unique ability to help us better understand the world around us."

The Arecibo Observatory is part of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center (NAIC), a national research center operated by Cornell University under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF). As the site of the world's largest single-dish radio telescope, the Observatory is recognized as one of the most important national centers for research in radio astronomy, planetary radar and terrestrial aeronomy. Radio astronomy research at the Arecibo Observatory, recognized as an Electrical Engineering Milestone by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, led to the first discovery of planets outside our own solar system, the first discovery of a binary pulsar (resulting in a Nobel Prize), and the first detailed three-dimensional mapping of how galaxies are distributed in the universe. The Observatory's visitor center draws 120,000 visitors each year.

In addition to ensuring full funding for the Observatory, Senator Clinton's legislation also directs the NSF to coordinate with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to ensure that the capabilities of the Observatory continue to be available for research into Near Earth Objects, which are comets and asteroids whose orbits bring them close to Earth.

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