The partial shutdown of the U.S. government has ended, and science is back online—literally. Federal research agencies were greeted with varying degrees of fanfare when they finally fired up their Twitter accounts again today.
Usual suspects—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI)—are all operational.
Good morning! We're back and ready to share useful health & science information with you once again!
— NIH (@NIH) October 17, 2013
It's great to be back and we're ready to keep you informed on all things NOAA!
— NOAA (@NOAA) October 17, 2013
We're back and will resume posting.
— National Science Fdn (@NSF) October 17, 2013
We're glad to be back! Got questions about cancer? We can help: http://t.co/77NHDC21Lv
— National Cancer Inst (@theNCI) October 17, 2013
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory, which turned off its telescopes on 4 October, announced its plans to restart operations:
On behalf of NSF, AUI & NRAO mgmt, we are pleased to announce that NRAO North American ops will re-open tomorrow, Fri, 18 Oct!
— NRAO (@TheNRAO) October 17, 2013
NASA was perhaps most sorely missed during the shutdown—at least enough to inspire fans to fill in for them with the tag
#ThingsNASAMightTweet—and made a triumphant return this morning with a picture of the Northern Lights taken from space.
— NASA (@NASA) October 17, 2013
Mars Rover Curiosity is also back in the game:
Allow me to reintroduce myself. I'm back on Twitter & even closer to Mars' Mount Sharp. http://t.co/GVWZBA5lvx
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) October 17, 2013
And Curiosity’s counterpart @SarcasticRover showed some uncharacteristic sincerity to celebrate NASA’s return:
Non-sarcastic hugs to those at NASA who will be returning to their jobs as awesome science wizards of the stars.
— SarcasticRover (@SarcasticRover) October 17, 2013
But although scientists are trickling back to work, research has taken a hit. NIH Director Francis Collins was careful to note the cost of the shutdown:
After 16 days of lost opportunities from the government shutdown, NIH is back!
— Francis S. Collins (@NIHDirector) October 17, 2013
And Phil Plait, astronomer and author of Slate blog Bad Astronomy, shared a sobering reminder:
Keep this in mind: The #shutdown cost the US as much money as NASA gets in a year, with two more Curiosity rovers thrown in.
— Phil Plait (@BadAstronomer) October 17, 2013