As of 12:00 am this morning, the American Government is offline. Federal employees, besides those deemed absolutely necessary to the essential operations of cabinet-level departments and federal agencies, have been furloughed indefinitely. Among the federal divisions deemed unessential during the shutdown is NASA. Here’s a breakdown of how the Agency is weathering this governmental shitstorm (and on its birthday, no less).
OFFLINE: 97% of NASA’s 18,134 Employees
Yesterday, Obama said NASA would "shut down almost entirely" if Congress failed to circumvent the budget impasse. That translates to all but a few hundred of the Agency’s employees being put on furlough.
ONLINE: The International Space Station
ONLINE: Mission Control in Houston
The government isn’t so heartless as to leave Nyberg, Hopkins and their fellow space-farers fending for themselves up there. Of the few hundred NASA employees not on furlough, most of them will be working to support the astronauts aboard humanity’s orbital outpost.
"To protect the life of the crew as well as the assets themselves, we would continue to support planned operations of the ISS during any funding hiatus" states NASA’s contingency plan. "Moreover, NASA will be closely monitoring the impact of an extended shutdown to determine if crew transportation or cargo resupply services are required to mitigate imminent threats to life and property on the ISS or other areas.”
ONLINE: Currently Operating Spacecraft
Scientific spacecraft currently in operation will be maintained, and their data stored for later analysis. Just don’t expect to hear anything about what they’re up to:
OFFLINE: Future Missions
"If a satellite mission has not yet been launched, work will generally cease on that project" states NASA’s shutdown plan. "The extent of support necessary and the time needed to safely cease project activities will depend on whether any of the activities are of a hazardous nature (e.g., parts of the satellite may need to be cooled)."
Among the missions that could be affected: MAVEN. The next big mission to Mars, the MAVEN orbiter designed to study the disappearance of Mars’s atmosphere from the planet’s orbit. According to Dwane Brown, Senior Public Affairs Officer at NASA, “a shutdown could delay the pre-launch processing currently under way with a possible impact to the scheduled Nov. 18 launch date.”
That’s VERY bad news. Launch opportunities to Mars only come around once every 26 months or so, and remain open for a very short time window. If MAVEN misses this launch window (which spans from November 18th to December 7th), it’ll have to wait for the next opportunity in early 2016, costing NASA’s already cash-strapped Planetary Science Division tens of millions of dollars.
OFFLINE: Asteroid Watch (Twitter Account)
The Twitter account for NASA’s Near Earth Object Office, which orchestrates the Agency’s efforts to identify and track potentially hazardous near-Earth objects, is officially offline:
ONLINE: Actual Asteroid Detection
After Twitter devolved into hysterics over its initial announcement, @AsteroidWatch quickly clarified:
Among those astronomers and observatories: the non-government organization Minor Plant Center (which manages worldwide observations of asteroids and comets), which had this to say of the shutdown:
Hear, hear, Minor Planet Center. Hear, hear.
Also all NASA interns, including myself, that were situated in on-base housing are now evicted. Ugh this is really frustrating.
Hey what’s up remaining tumblr followers? It’s been a while. So my internship at NASA Ames started a few weeks ago and I love it here! The facilities are awesome, there are colloquiums in my building all the time (with wine and cheese after!), I’m getting paid well, and my mentor is really nice. Most of the other interns are engineering majors, but there are two other Physics majors so it’s cool to have other people to nerd out with over Physics stuff. The Raytheon or JPL summer internship never panned out which is fine, because I am really glad I’m here as there is so much to do and see in California (last weekend we went to the Santa Cruz boardwalk and went wine tasting after). Despite not interning this summer, it was pretty productive. I TA’d all summer and got more scholarship so that my entire tuition was covered for this fall semester as I am a full time student with internship credits and two online classes. Also lost 50 lbs, no big deal. But seriously, I feel so much better and healthier. The huge loss was in part to running 6 miles nearly everyday (and more if I missed a day) as well as monitoring my diet a lot more carefully. My goal is to loose another ~25 lbs, since I want to lean out then start adding muscle, but as it is I have legs of steel already (plus being able to grab my ribcage is weird). Anyways, I’m definitely going to try to extend my internship another semester and probably into summer, seriously love being in California, let alone Silicon Valley with Google down the street, Microsoft & Lockheed next door, and tons of other huge companies around. It’s pretty wizard if you ask me.
Hey guys just a bit of a life update. I survived the gauntlet that is Junior year for Physics majors (and even increased my GPA). Unfortunately a mid summer/fall co-op fell through due to their loss of funding which sucked so I have been stuck at school TAing for summer Physics labs. I’ve been working out pretty much every day and the past few weeks running at 5 miles a day. So far I have lost 40lbs since the start of summer and I have 10 more to reach my summer goal. The workouts don’t bother me, it’s just the calorie counting that sucks, but it’s totally worth it. I can feel and see the immense difference (which also means most of clothes don’t fit very well). I had several reasons why I started this lifestyle change (a girl, health reasons, skydiving, and more) but it’s the right direction to go for me. Oh yeah for my 21st birthday I went skydiving for the first time. Most exhilarating experience of my life and can’t wait to go again!
The most important news is that a couple days ago, out of nowhere I get a call from NASA about an internship! I finally ironed out some of the details yesterday and officially accepted the offer. Unfortunately this means not graduating with some of my classmates and friends I have grown close to but this opportunity was too good to pass up. It pays pretty well too (it better considering how expensive it is to rent a single room in Silicon Valley). So that’s where I am at a couple months later. Can’t say I’ll be staying around Tumblr but I’ll probably check it every once and a while.
I think I’m kinda done with tumblr, it’s been fun wasting time and stuff, but I have more serious commitments with school. Toodles!
CNN actually researched how much it would cost to go to Hogwarts
Hearing what your voice sounds like recorded, and realizing that’s what everybody hears when you talk.