NIU geologist Ross Powell is in a holding pattern. Powell and NIU geology professor Reed Scherer were scheduled to leave for Antarctica in December. Powell is leading the second field season of a study of the continent's ice shelf. Those plans are on hold as the federal government shutdown continues. The project is supported by the National Science Foundation.
The number of project members had already been scaled back earlier this year due to the federal sequester.
Powell tells WNIJ his team won't be able to go to Antarctica unless there's an end to the shutdown. Even then, he says, it will depend on how they will be able to overcome the backlog that is being created of people, equipment and fuel movements that are now in a holding pattern.