NYTmes.com -- 2013/10/04
NASA’s next Mars mission is getting to the launching pad, government shutdown or not.
Launch preparations for the Maven spacecraft – short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution – had ground to a halt Tuesday along with almost all of NASA after Congress failed to provide money for the federal government to continue operating. The scientific mission – to study the planet’s thin atmosphere – was not among the few NASA activities deemed “essential.”
While the science is still not considered essential, officials concluded that the launch delay could jeopardize the missions of the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers currently on Mars. The two rovers currently relay their data through two aging orbiting NASA spacecraft, Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Good to know that "Discovery" still sometimes trumps "Idiocy," hey?
Even if, just barely.