Shutdown Over: Science Agencies Send Celebratory 'Back to Work' Tweets

NASA Twitter screen grab
A screen shot of the NASA Twitter account the day after the two-week government shutdown ended, on Oct. 17, 2013. (Image credit: Screen shot/Twitter)

The two-week government shutdown is finally over, and thousands of federal employees have gone back to work, including the folks who operate the Twitter feeds for the numerous science-oriented agencies, national parks and museums.

During the shutdown, while skeleton crews kept NASA's Mission Control open to aide the country's astronauts aboard the International Space Station, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention kept some scientists on staff to monitor disease outbreaks, large swathes of many agencies that deal with science matters were largely shuttered. All of the nation's national parks and monuments were closed — though a handful of states paid to reopen some crucial sites last week — and all of the Smithsonian museums were closed.

The National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center were kept open and operating because of their crucial role in protecting the lives and property of Americans, and many of their Twitter feeds continued to operate during the shutdown to keep people informed of potential hazardous weather. But most other government agency Twitter feeds went dark on the first day of the shutdown, with a flurry of tweets sent the morning of Oct. 1 to tell followers that the feeds wouldn't be updated for the duration of the shutdown.

Today (Oct. 17), with the budget impasse resolved for now, those same feeds lit up again, with messages of a return to work and tweeting. Many of the messages were jubilant and some, like the Smithsonian National Zoo, informed followers when sites would be open, and, in the case of the zoo, when the wildly popular Panda Cam would be back up and running (it's expected to be later today). Here, we take a look at some of the return-to-work tweets from various government agencies and sites:


@NASA: We're back and in the process of turning things back on!  and #NASA TV will be up as soon as possible!

@NASA_ICE: And we're back! #WelcomeBackNASA

@AstroRobonaut: I'm baaaaaaaack

U.S. Geological Survey

@USGS: ...and we're back.

Yellowstone National Park

@YellowstoneNPS: #Yellowstone National Park is OPEN to visitors. All park gates are open. Limited visitor services are available. (an)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

@NOAA: It's great to be back and we're ready to keep you informed on all things NOAA!

Smithsonian Museums & Zoos

@Smithsonian: We're back from the #shutdown! Smithsonian museums will reopen on Thursday and the @NationalZoo will reopen on Friday.

@NationalZoo: The panda cam is back ON! … #cubwatch

@airandspace: We're back! Our museums and facilities will reopen today. We look forward to seeing you!

Environmental Protection Agency

@EPA: We're back and will resume posting soon.

Centers for Disease Control

@CDCChronic: We are back. A big thank you to all followers of @cdcchronic for your patience & understanding during the "The Troubles."

National Institutes of Health

@NIH: Good morning! We're back and ready to share useful health & science information with you once again!

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Andrea Thompson
Live Science Contributor

Andrea Thompson is an associate editor at Scientific American, where she covers sustainability, energy and the environment. Prior to that, she was a senior writer covering climate science at Climate Central and a reporter and editor at Live Science, where she primarily covered Earth science and the environment. She holds a graduate degree in science health and environmental reporting from New York University, as well as a bachelor of science and and masters of science in atmospheric chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology.