Happy 55th birthday, NASA!
Unfortunately, the government shutdown means not many employees will be around, and the space agency could wind up losing hundreds of millions of dollars. Keith Wagstaff writes:
If the shutdown drags on, the Mars MAVEN mission could miss its Nov. 18 launch date — an event that can’t be easily rescheduled, seeing as Earth and Mars are only in the right position once every 26 months.
That means NASA’s $671 million mission — which is supposed to provide information about Mars’ atmosphere, including whether it might have once supported life — could be delayed until 2016.