Oct. 03--WASHINGTON -- Few agencies have been socked as badly by the government shutdown as NASA, which has seen 97 percent of its 18,250-member work force either furloughed or put on call.
The lack of personnel has halted nearly every function at the space agency. Processing of a new Mars spacecraft at Kennedy Space Center has stopped. Planned instrument tests for NASA's new James Webb Space Telescope are on uncertain ground. Even the NASA website is down.
But the radio silence hasn't stopped NASA's online friends from voicing their support -- as well as using a dash of sarcastic humor to poke fun at policymakers in Washington.
Though NASA has suspended its official Twitter account for its Mars Curiosity rover, its snarky alter ego -- the ever-popular "SarcasticRover" -- is still weighing in on the government shutdown and its effects on NASA.
"Apparently 'Non-Essential' government services are all shut down ... Which for some reason includes science. Dummies," read one tweet.
And another: "As if shut down wasn't bad enough, @TheScienceGuy Bill Nye was kicked off Dancing W/ The Stars ... HAS THE WHOLE WORLD GONE MAD!?"
A fan of NASA's Voyager 2 mission -- which is headed out of the solar system into interstellar space -- had a similar message, noting in one tweet: "Farewell, humans. Sort it out yourselves."
A Twitter account for the Minor Planet Center, which helps the world keep track of space objects, took the long view, too: "The US Government is shutting down, but the MPC will remain open for business as usual -- the Universe knows nothing of Humans' petty politics."
firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-824-8222
(c)2013 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)
Visit The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) at www.OrlandoSentinel.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services