Space Isn’t Special When It Comes To Russia

Noted here last week was the chilling of cooperation between the U.S. and Russia in space operations.  It was not the only instance where scientific exchange and cooperation has been stalled due to tensions between the two countries over military actions in the Ukraine.  As noted during this Science Friday segment on April 4, just because the NASA action was the only one made public at the time does not mean it was the only action of its kind taken concerning scientific cooperation.

Russian media (sure, consider the source, but still) are reporting that the Department of Energy has suspended visits of Russia citizens to Department facilities.  The report appears to be based on the leak of a letter sent to Energy Department scientists, and no official communication has been released to the public or received by the Russian government.  Much like the exceptions to the NASA restrictions, activities connected to nuclear security, weapons of mass destruction, or otherwise in the U.S. national interest.  Brookhaven National Lab comes up in these reports in part due to significant Russian involvement with Lab scientists, but Russian reports suggest other facilities received similar letters.

It seems reasonable to think that other agencies have been, or will be, affected by restrictions similar to those affecting NASA and the Energy Department.  The effectiveness of such measures can be debated, but there are some possible actions that could be coming.  One is retaliatory measures by the Russian government (for instance, not even allowing cooperation on those activities excepted by U.S. policies).  The other would be Congressional involvement in international science activities.  Remember how incensed a member of Congress got over cooperation with China?


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