Feeds

Curiosity keeps on trucking despite government shutdown

97% of NASA told to stay at home for 55th birthday

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Despite media reports to the contrary, the Curiosity rover is continuing to operate on Mars and is carrying on with its year-long trip to the base of Mount Sharp despite the US government shutdown.

"Because the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is operated by the California Institute of Technology as a contractor, JPL employees are reporting to work as usual and rover operations are continuing today," a JPL spokesman told The Register. "Driving and other rover activities are continuing. Any changes to JPL's status will be assessed on a week-by-week basis as events unfold."

That said, the rover is one of a very few projects under NASA's remit that is still working after Congressional intransigence caused the government to shut down all nonessential services. NASA mission control is also staying at their posts to make sure that the crew of the International Space Station remains fully supported.

"To protect the life of the crew as well as the assets themselves, we would continue to support planned operations of the ISS [space station] during any funding hiatus," reads NASA's furlough plan.

"Moreover, NASA will be closely monitoring the impact of an extended shutdown to determine if crew transportation or cargo resupply services are required to mitigate imminent threats to life and property on the ISS or other areas."

But the vast majority of the agency's activities are offline and over 18,000 staff have been sent home – some 97 per cent of NASA's workforce. Under federal law, staff aren't supposed to work in the current hiatus, but at least one NASA staffer El Reg has spoken to is using the time to catch up on his paperwork.

In the meantime, the agency's website is down, there are no public events, and work on future missions has been temporarily halted. Even the Asteroid Watch team that keep an eye out for Earth-threatening objects in space are on furlough, although NASA said that many observatories are still contributing data to the threat map of our skies.

All in all it's a sorry 55th birthday for NASA. The agency came into being on October 1, 1958 after being set up by President Eisenhower, who also established the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). One wonders what he'd make of the unholy mess the US is in now.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success
LOHAN slips into some sexy bespoke mission parameters
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.