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Coronavirus KOs major meeting
MEETINGS | Citing the spread of the new
coronavirus, the American Physical Society
(APS) abruptly canceled its largest meeting
of the year, just 36 hours before more than
10,000 physicists were to convene this
week in Denver. APS made the decision on
29 February, hours after the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention advised
against nonessential travel to South Korea
and Italy, APS CEO Kate Kirby told Science.
More than 500 people were registered from
those countries. Although the cancella-
tion inconvenienced many, Kirby says APS
leaders were concerned about the health
of registrants, vendors, and local residents.
They had also envisioned a “nightmare
scenario” in which a few infected attendees
might cause thousands to be quarantined.
As Science went to press, many major con-
ferences were still on, including the spring
meeting of the American Chemical Society
and the European Congress of Clinical
Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

Earth’s fly-by-night visitor
PLANETARY SCIENCE | Some 18 months
ago, Earth’s gravity roped in a car-size aster-
oid, making it the planet’s second detected
“minimoon,” astronomers reported last
week. (Another captured asteroid orbited
Earth from 2006 to 2007.) Discovered
by Kacper Wierzchos and Theodore Pruyne
of the Catalina Sky Survey at the Mount
Lemmon Observatory and provisionally
dubbed 2020 CD3, the rock, of unknown
composition, likely won’t stick around: CD
has a wobbly orbit that in a few weeks will
fling it from Earth and return it to its orbit
around the Sun. Smaller minimoons occur
frequently, scientists think, but visitors the
size of CD3 may come only once a decade.

Trials must post missing data
CLINICAL TRIALS | Drug companies, device
manufacturers, and universities must
make public data from hundreds of clinical
trials conducted in the United States from
2007–17, a federal judge ruled last week.
The ruling, from the Southern District of
New York, says that government agencies
including the National Institutes of Health,


You don’t want to go to war with a president ...

but you got to [make] sure you continue to tell the truth.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, to Politico last week
on the “fine balance” needed for a credible U.S. government response to the coronavirus crisis.

An artist’s rendition of the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope.


Edited by Catherine Matacic


NASA survey scope wins approval


ASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), a big
orbiting observatory planned for launch in the mid-2020s,
has reached a major milestone. On 2 March, the agency said
the project passed its confirmation review and could begin to
build hardware. Thanks to a 2.4-meter mirror donated in 2011
by the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Reconnaissance
Office, WFIRST will peer deep into the cosmos with the sensitivity
of the Hubble Space Telescope, but 100 times the field of view. It
will track the shapes, positions, and distances of millions of galaxies
to understand how dark matter influenced their formation and how
dark energy is boosting cosmic expansion. It will also carry a corona-
graph, a mask to block out a star’s light so that orbiting exoplanets
can be seen directly. To keep within its $3.2 billion budget, the project
eased the requirements of the coronagraph and its attached spectro-
graph (Science, 27 October 2017, p. 433). Last month, the Trump ad-
ministration proposed killing the project in its 2021 budget request,
but astronomers hope Congress will reverse that, as it did after simi-
lar budget requests for 2019 and 2020.

1058 6 MARCH 2020 • VOL 367 ISSUE 6482
Published by AAAS
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