News and commentary about the Great Frontiers

ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) --- This view of Earth's horizon as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible. Credit: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Image Credit: ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) – Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Space as Solace During a Government Shutdown


The recent space activities I’m writing and posting about provide solace during this government shutdown that has furloughed most NASA and related departments employees and contractors. This is a difficult time for them and their families. We at HiRISE regularly work with some of these scientists, engineers, programmers, managers, and other experts.

I haven’t been furloughed. Budgeting works differently for organizations like HiRISE and OSIRIS-REx at the University of Arizona funded annually by NASA, so our activities continue for the rest of the fiscal year. I believe there is the potential for negative impacts later, though, the longer this shutdown goes on.

A minor, silly impact not at all on the scale of being furloughed: there’s a USGS planetary nomenclature website that Audrie Fennema and I use every week to check the spelling of Martian locations and surface features in our upcoming observation descriptions; it’s down for the duration of the shutdown. 

Hope we spell everything correctly.

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