Matt Bigler/KCBS Radio

NASA Workers In Bay Area Worry About When They'll Get Paid Again

Matt Bigler
January 10, 2019 - 3:43 pm

MOUNTAIN VIEW — NASA Ames Research Center is a ghost town right now. Nearly all federal workers have been prevented from conducting research because of the ongoing government shutdown. 

A sign saying "closed due to federal government shutdown" hangs in a window at the center along with a phone number to call for updates. 

Conrad Rorie, an Ames research engineer, told KCBS that he's worried about not getting his next paycheck. 

"That's starting to stress myself out," said Rorie. "Pretty high rent around here obviously, so I'm starting to get concerned with the end of the month coming up about having pay my rent."

Some out-of-work scientists from Ames joined other furloughed federal employees for a protest at the Environmental Protection Agency building in San Francisco on Thursday. 

As the impasse between President Trump and Congressional Democrats remains unresolved, projects like NASA's search for distant planets with the TESS mission, are put on hold. 

Jon Jenkins, the science processing lead for TESS, expressed frustration that some data may be lost. 

"There is science that is just going to be left on the floor, because of the shutdown," he said. 

With his own economic security in doubt, Jenkins said he's considering taking a loan to pay expenses and his daughter's college tuition. He also regretted that he made fewer charitable contributions at the end of 2018, because he needed to conserve money.