Wednesday, October 02, 2013

U.S. Government Shut-Down Reaches Mars & Beyond; The Mars Curiosity Rover Will Stop Collecting Data

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MARS – Curiosity Rover Shutting Down
The Mars Curiosity Rover will stop collecting data during the shutdown.

By Jenny Marder

      Just before 11 p.m. Monday night, NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft sent this message via Twitter:

Of course, it wasn't Voyager sending the tweet, it was Voyager's handlers here on Earth.

But the slight whiff of snarkiness coming from the intrepid spacecraft, hurtling through deep space -- and depending very much on government funding to do so -- highlights the powerful impact this shutdown has on science and the nation's scientific agencies.

At NASA, Mission Control in Houston remains active to support the crew aboard the International Space Station. But nearly all other space agency operations have ground to a halt. Most of the agency's 18,000 employees have been placed on furlough, spacecrafts and satellites not yet launched are grounded and while the Hubble Space Telescope will continue peering into far flung galaxies, no one will be there to collect the data. . . .

. . . Even the Mars Curiosity spacecraft, the Atlantic reports, "will face its own little robot furlough: The explorer will 'be put in a protective mode' for the duration of the shutdown, and will not collect any new data during that time." . . .

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