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NASA’s Mars rover will continue to be operated during US shutdown

The recent ‘shutdown’ of all none-essential United States government departments and services has left NASA almost completely nonfunctional.

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover will continue to be operated from Earth, despite the recent federal government shutdown
NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover will continue to be operated from Earth, despite the recent federal government shutdown

The organization’s current Martian exploration mission will go on according to a spokesperson from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which operates the Mars Curiosity rover.

The news was welcomed by many, as the recent government shutdown has left the world’s leading space exploration and scientific research organization in tatters. Almost 97% of NASA’s entire workforce are currently “furloughed”, with only 550 of its 18,000 employees continuing with their duties.

Many of NASA’s key services have ceased to operate, including its Asteroid Watch twitter feed, which posts frequent updates on incoming asteroids and their statuses.

In the event of government shutdown, we will not be posting or responding from this account. We sincerely hope to resume tweets soon.

– Asteroid Watch (@AsteroidWatch) September 30, 2013

In addition to a multitude of Twitter feeds, the official NASA website has also been unavailable.

NASA-website
The official NASA website has been unavailable during the shutdown. Visitors are welcomed with an apology for any inconvenience, but no other pages on the site are accessible.

NASA’s services are just a small handful of the huge number that have been greatly affected by the shutdown, and it is yet unclear what the long-term effects will be on the organization, which is already struggling under budget cuts. It is clear, however, that our current efforts to explore the Red Planet are not in jeopardy which is at least one positive in this fiscal mess.

Source: NASA, the Huffington Post, the Verge

Callum Heard
Callum is a physics, mathematics and computer science student from the English Midlands. He is fascinated by science and philosophy and the curious ways in which they interact.

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