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The shutdown can’t stop NASA astronauts from tweeting amazing space pics

Karen Nyberg and Mike Hopkins are our only hope.


Audra Schroeder


Posted on Oct 15, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 4:12 am CDT

Of all the government agencies affected by the Oct. 1 shutdown, NASA was perhaps the most troubling. If a giant asteroid was hurtling towards Earth, who would warn us?

NASA was left with just a skeleton crew at Mission Control in Houston, sending some 18,000 employees on furlough. Their official Twitter page hasn’t been updated since Oct. 1. Their website is empty. And much like the movie Gravity, there are still two (American) astronauts floating around in space. Except these two are tweeting.

Karen Nyberg and Mike Hopkins continue to use Twitter from the International Space Station, where they and four other crew members are still in orbit. And they’ve been providing some extraordinary photos:  

Beautiful storms over Ghana. October 8.

— Karen L. Nyberg (@AstroKarenN) October 8, 2013

This was amazing to see! RT @astro_luca An immense cloud forms outside the atmosphere after the disintegration

— Karen L. Nyberg (@AstroKarenN) October 11, 2013

The pic doesn’t do the northern lights justice. Covered the whole sky. Truly amazing!

— Mike Hopkins (@AstroIllini) October 9, 2013

Not something you see every day first hand. With features like this, Dubai stands out from 260 miles up.

— Mike Hopkins (@AstroIllini) October 14, 2013

Nyberg, who has also been using Pinterest in space, is scheduled to fly back to Earth on Nov. 11. Hopefully NASA will be functional then, though it is a little strange that Gravity was released the same week as the shutdown, right?

Photo via @astro_luca/Twitter

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*First Published: Oct 15, 2013, 1:43 pm CDT