10 U.S. Programs We Didn't Miss Until the Shutdown

By Amelia Hennighausen and Eric Roston - 2013-10-02T10:02:30Z

Photograph by NASA/SSPL via Getty Images

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It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's... Too Late!

The federal shutdown might be more consequential, in retrospect, if all life on Earth is wiped out by meteor impact while NASA's on furlough. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Asteroid Watch Twitter account posted Tuesday, "Due to the gov't shutdown, all public NASA activities/events are cancelled or postponed until further notice. Sorry for the inconvenience."

Fortunately, the European Space Agency opened an asteroid monitoring center in May, so we'll know when to collectively duck.

This image of Comet C/2001 Q4 by Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) was taken at the Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, AZ, in 2004. 

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