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When Congress returns from its August recess this week, it will finish the 1988 appropriation for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), agencies that pay for a large part of geoscience research in the United States. Ocean science has found protected waters for the second straight year in the House appropriation, but the space station may be cast adrift from a supply of federal dollars if the chairman of the Senate subcommittee that is recommending NASA funding gets his way. In any case, it appears likely that the knife of budgetary restraint will cut significantly into NSF and NASA funding at some stage in the process.