Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Nasa does U-turn on Chinese astronomer ban

21 October 2013, 15:17

Beijing - Nasa has reversed a decision to ban six Chinese scientists from a space conference, Chinese state media said, after prominent US astronomers vowed to boycott the meeting in a row over academic freedom.

The US space agency had barred them from participating in the meeting on exoplanets - bodies outside the solar system - in California in early November, saying it was legally obliged to do so because of their nationality.

A Nasa committee has now written to the six to change course, China's official Xinhua news agency reported.

"We have since been able to clarify the intent of the referenced legislation and are pleased to inform you that this decision has been reversed and your paperwork is being reviewed for clearance," Xinhua quoted the letter as saying.

"We hope you will be able to join us," it added.

The initial decision to block the six led to an academic uproar and some leading US astronomers, including Yale University's Debra Fischer, announced plans to boycott the conference.

Geoff Marcy, an astronomy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote in an e-mail to the organisers: "The meeting is about planets located trillions of miles away, with no national security implications."

China's foreign ministry also blasted Nasa's denial of the researchers' applications as discriminatory, arguing that politics should have no place at academic meetings.

Nasa administrator Charles Bolden responded earlier this month by pledging to review the committee's decision, which he blamed on "mid-level managers" at the agency's Ames Research Centre, which is hosting the event.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...