Shutdown Quiets NASA, So Space Station Astronauts Enjoy View
Of all the government agencies, NASA is among the hardest hit by the government shutdown. As of Oct. 1, nearly all of its employees have been told to pack up and head home.
But there are two NASA workers who can't leave the office, at least not without great expense to the taxpayer. Astronauts Karen Nyberg and Mike Hopkins are orbiting some 250 miles above Earth aboard the International Space Station. They're in touch with mission control, but it's not clear they have all that much to do.
Intriguingly, while nearly all of NASA's Twitter feeds are offline, Nyberg and Hopkins have both tweeted since the shutdown began. And their tweets hint that they might be just a weensy bit bored:
Have you ever watched the clouds go by & let your imagination see different shapes? It works from space as well. pic.twitter.com/LpEJHmGGpv— Mike Hopkins (@Astro_illini) October 2, 2013
Say cheese! pic.twitter.com/ShjsvD0QCj— Karen L. Nyberg (@AstroKarenN) October 3, 2013
1st pic of day. I messed up & hit button while grabbing the camera, but I thought it turned out to be a neat shot pic.twitter.com/tePOEt2Zne— Mike Hopkins (@Astro_illini) October 3, 2013
Neither astronaut immediately responded to an NPR reporter's tweet, asking them whether they were among the furloughed NASA employees.
Update, Oct. 4: Meanwhile on the ground, Houston Television station KHOU reports that one furloughed ISS scientist is now running an online grocery delivery business to make ends meet during the shutdown.
Update, Oct. 4: A furloughed space station scientist has told NPR that the astronauts are continuing a full schedule of work despite the shutdown.
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