Most NASA employees will be able to celebrate the space agency's 55th birthday from the comfort of their own homes today (Oct. 1). In an odd twist of fate, the partial government shutdown that began at midnight has effectively grounded NASA on the anniversary of its first day of operations.
All public events sponsored by NASA have either been cancelled or postponed, according to the agency's Twitter (@NASA). In total, less than 600 of NASA's more than 18,000 employees will be working during the shutdown, NASA's government shutdown plan states. A skeleton crew will be on duty to maintain the International Space Station's operations and crewmembers from Mission Control at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Two NASA astronauts — Karen Nyberg and Mike Hopkins — are currently flying onboard the station. [Read more about the government shutdown from SPACE.com]
NASA launched into existence on July 29, 1958 when President Dwight Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act into law, but the space agency didn't officially open its doors until Oct. 1 of that year. Since its creation NASA has landed 12 astronauts on the moon, successfully landed four rovers on Mars, and sent the first manmade object into interstellar space. But the space agency has still has big plans for the future. From capturing an asteroid and parking it next to the moon to landing astronauts on Mars, NASA is still aiming to push the boundaries of what is considered possible.
You can read more about NASA's government shutdown plan here: http://www.nasa.gov/news/budget/index.html
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Miriam Kramer joined Space.com as a Staff Writer in December 2012. Since then, she has floated in weightlessness on a zero-gravity flight, felt the pull of 4-Gs in a trainer aircraft and watched rockets soar into space from Florida and Virginia. She also served as Space.com's lead space entertainment reporter, and enjoys all aspects of space news, astronomy and commercial spaceflight. Miriam has also presented space stories during live interviews with Fox News and other TV and radio outlets. She originally hails from Knoxville, Tennessee where she and her family would take trips to dark spots on the outskirts of town to watch meteor showers every year. She loves to travel and one day hopes to see the northern lights in person. Miriam is currently a space reporter with Axios, writing the Axios Space newsletter. You can follow Miriam on Twitter.