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US news roundup: 25 November to 1 December


This week: a Mars sample consultation, student loan repayments and clean technology funding

In depth: As he prepares to step away from his role as the United States’ top expert in infectious diseases after almost 40 years, Anthony Fauci has warned that the world should prepare for more pandemics.

Full story: Fauci bows out with warning of ‘perpetual’ infectious disease risk

Also this week from Research Professional News

US committee warns over sharing of satellite data channels—Disruption of critical weather data transmissions could put people and property “in peril”, say lawmakers

Hearing problems—The ‘red wave’ was more of a ripple, but effects on research could be profound

Here is the rest of the US news this week… 

Nasa consults on environmental impact of Mars sample return

Nasa is consulting the public on the environmental impact of its mission to bring samples from the planet Mars to Earth. The space agency said it and the European Space Agency are planning to use missions that will launch in 2027 and 2028 to retrieve samples of rocks and the Martian atmosphere, which could be returned to Earth by the early 2030s. In-person meetings to discuss the environmental impacts of the project will be held in Utah on 6 and 7 December.

Student loan repayment pause extended

The Biden administration has extended a pause on student loan repayments, while it seeks a Supreme Court review of court orders preventing the Department of Education from providing debt relief to “tens of millions” of students. “Callous efforts to block student debt relief in the courts have caused tremendous financial uncertainty for millions of borrowers,” said education secretary Miguel Cardona. “I want borrowers to know that the Biden-Harris Administration has their backs and we’re as committed as ever to fighting to deliver essential student debt relief.”

$100 million for clean tech development

The Department of Energy has allocated $100 million to eight projects developing clean energy technologies. It said the funding is intended to help “lower emissions through clean energy deployment, reduce dependence on imports of critical minerals, and secure the nation’s standing as a global leader of research and innovation”. Funded projects include work to commercialise “the first powerful permanent magnet that is free of critical materials” and another on hybrid propulsion technologies in aircraft.