Open House At JPL Closed To Public Over Sequestration

PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — A popular annual event at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is the latest program to fall victim to federal budget cuts.

Officials announced Monday the JPL Open House at its La Canada Flintridge facility was suspended due to federal spending cuts mandated by sequestration.

The event scheduled for June 8-9 draws crowds of nearly 30,000 guests per year and has been a source of inspiration for younger people considering a career in the field of planetary science.

Casey Drier, a strategist for The Planetary Society’s Advocacy and Outreach told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO the move is aimed at helping NASA offset spending cuts.

The Planetary Society's Advocacy and Outreach strategist Casey Drier

“When it comes down to the fact they’ve lost something like 5 percent of their budget in the last few months of the year, they’re gonna have to make these really difficult choices,” Drier said. “No one wants to cut education and outreach at NASA, but when it [comes down] with the choice between cutting a mission or delaying a mission or cutting outreach activities, it’s gonna be probably outreach activities that are gonna go.”

A statement on the JPL website suggested the agency could host an Open House as early as fall 2013 “if budget considerations improve.”

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