The space agency waved a cheeky goodbye from the social image site Tuesday, saying “we won’t be posting or replying to comments during the U.S. government shutdown.”

NASA broke that rule almost immediately to let a concerned commenter know that vital services would continue and it wouldn’t be stranding any astronauts in space.

Speaking of comments, there are lots of them, mainly variations on the 🙁 emoticon. As of this posting, NASA had 239,100 followers on Instagram, even though it joined the service less than a month ago. It’s been a great way for the agency to share some of its breathtaking images, from rocket launches to views of Earth from space.

The space program has made pioneering use of social technology to communicate with the public. The Mars rover team won a 2013 Webby award for tweeting in the voice of Curiosity, the robot, who also signed off of the Web due to the shutdown.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer


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