Washington, Oct 20: Chinese researchers who were banned from attending a NASA conference on exoplanets – planets that orbit a star outside the solar system – research have received a letter of clarification from the organising committee and can now attend the event.
“Few weeks ago, you received an e-mail… noting that we were unable to accommodate your request to attend the Second Kepler Science Conference at the NASA Ames Research Centre,” Xinhua quoted a letter obtained Saturday from one of the banned researchers, who refused to be named, as stating.
“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,” the letter said.
“We hope you will be able to join us and celebrate the science enabled by Kepler,” it added.
The organisers said, with the reopening of the US federal government and the lifting of furloughs, the conference will go ahead as planned Nov 4-8 at NASA Ames Research Centre.
The ban was based on a law passed in 2011 that prohibited government funds to be used in hosting Chinese nationals at NASA. This sparked a boycott by several prominent American scientists, including Debra Fischer of Yale University, and Geoff Marcy of the University of California, Berkeley, of the conference.
Earlier, NASA was directed to reconsider applications of Chinese researchers who were banned from attending the planetary conference in California.