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Perspective: Don't sink the JOIDES Resolution!

The US National Science Foundation, NSF, has provided the primary support for the most successful international research program of our planet: the International Ocean Discovery Program, or IODP, from which we have gained critical insights into climate change, tectonic hazards such as earthquakes and tsunamis, and life in extreme habitats.

The program manages a unique ocean-going tool calledthe JOIDES Resolution(we call her The JR); a ship that since launching back in 1978 has explored all of the world's oceans, drilling deep into the seafloor to reveal Earth's secrets.

Funded by an international consortium, but led by the US, this floating laboratory has been a model of global cooperation, where scientists, students, technicians, drillers and crew from the world over live and work together at sea in continuous 2 month rotations.

Although the program has been around for a long time and we've learned so much, critical remaining scientific questions about our planet can only be answered through continued scientific ocean drilling, only possible today from The JR. Our work is far from done.

The JR continues to operate in fine form and is currently certified to continue operations through 2028. However, the National Science Foundation recently announced that they will no longer fund their controlling part of ship operations after 2024, which means an end to new discovery.

Project costs are 1/2 of 1% of the NSF budget, which itself 1/10 of 1% of the federal budget, yet the payback in advancing knowledge and American prestige is huge. President Biden is asking Congress for a notable increase in science funding, while Congress wants to slash discretionary spending. Cutting scientific research cedes US global leadership, undermining innovation and knowledge. Please join me in calling on Congress to support science and our future.

I'm Reed Scherer and that's my perspective.

A member of the Northern Illinois University faculty of Geology and Environmental Geosciences since 2000, Reed Scherer's research spans the spectrum from the smallest of fossils (diatoms) to the largest (dinosaurs). Most of his research relates to the vulnerability of the Antarctic ice sheet to climate change.
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