Just as the University of Arizona-led spacecraft OSIRIS-REx prepares to begin orbiting the asteroid Bennu, it turns out the consequences of President Trump's continued government shutdown over a border wall reach into outer space itself.
According to a message by OSIRIS-REx communications lead Erin Morton, "For the duration of the shutdown, we are unable to issue press releases through NASA’s resources or communicate mission updates through NASA websites."
Courtesy illustration by Kevin M. Gill
Part of President Trump's border wall upheaval means NASA's funding is being held, and no funding means it'll be more difficult for the agency to broadcast some pretty monumental events in scientific history: OSIRIS-REx orbiting the smallest asteroid a human machine has ever orbited, and the New Horizons spacecraft sending back images of the minor planet Ultima Thule.
When the government began its shutdown on Dec. 22, the majority of NASA's 17,000 staff were kept home with no promise of pay. Roughly 1,400 NASA staff remain working, however, to carry out critical agency roles.
Luckily for fans of OSIRIS-REx, updates will still be put online by the UA.
"For the duration of the shutdown, we are fortunate to be able to use the University of Arizona’s resources to keep the public informed of mission developments." Morton said.
For updates on OSIRIS-REx, visit the mission’s website, asteroidmission.org
or follow OSIRIS-REx on social media.