[Original article: Here]

The government shutdown may have grounded all of NASA’s Twitter accounts, but science and space enthusiasts are keeping the information flowing with an out-of-this-world new hashtag — #ThingsNASAMightTweet.

Congress could not strike a deal on a funding bill by the end of the fiscal year, causing thegovernment shutdown Tuesday. Some 800,000 federal workers were sent home. And on the 55th anniversary of the day the agency became operational, most NASA employees were furloughed, aside from those at Mission Control who are supporting astronauts currently in space.

Space itself, however, was not shut down — the universe is still expanding and the celestial bodies have continued their orbital dance. In addition, many of NASA’s contractors have continued to work, such as Jet Propulsion Lab, which is in charge of the Curiosity Mars rover mission, among others.

To continue keeping people informed about these missions and other space news, a group of NASA fans came to the rescue.

“I thought, ‘Why don’t I start tweeting what NASA can’t?’” Bill Dunford told Mashable. “[I tried] to take a guess at some of the things they would normally tweet — they would normally talk about — and just do it myself.”

Dunford, of Salk Lake City, Utah, works at a software company and also runs a non-profit educational website called Riding With Robots. Tweeting as @ridingrobots, he created the #ThingsNASAMightTweet hashtag.

“It’s a little long, but it’s descriptive,” Dunford said.

Here’s his first tweet with the previously unused hashtag:

The campaign gained momentum a few days later when Angela Gibson, an educator who lives near Norfolk, Va., wrote a post on Facebook to rally NASA’s tight knit social media community to “stand in the gap” by using social media to share information about space and science during the shutdown.

“A couple days into the shutdown, I was very frustrated,” Gibson told Mashable. “I felt very much like I needed to do something.”

Dunford commented on Gibson’s post, informing the group of his hashtag. From there, hundreds of members of the community began to pitch in. Some organized shifts and took on designated topics, while others just posted randomly. The chart below shows the hashtag’s growth.

Veronica McGregor, a media relations manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, is normally in charge of several of NASA’s Twitter accounts, including @MarsCuriosity which has nearly 1.5 million followers. McGregor said she has certainly taken notice of her temporary replacements.

“There’s been this amazing way that our supporters have picked up the slack,” she toldMashable

“They are actually tweeting space updates for us; we just thought that was great.”

“They are actually tweeting space updates for us; we just thought that was great.”

While its Twitter account is offline for the shutdown, McGregor said the Curiosity rover mission has gone on as planned. NASA contracts Jet Propulsion Lab employees, who technically work for the California Institute of Technology.

Additionally, NASA’s next Mars probe is on schedule despite the shutdown. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution orbiter, or Maven, has a scheduled launch date of Nov. 18. For the benefit of science nerds everywhere, let’s hope the government shutdown ends before then.


The Marketing Thought-Leader

When we market events like Content Marketing World, MarketingProfs B2B Forum and others, Keyhole helps us track use of the event hashtag and which influencers are engaging. The Keyhole dashboard has been very helpful for reporting on the impact we’ve had at influencing influencers as they publish content around an event using the hashtag. Keyhole definitely frees up time from manual monitoring and has contributed to the growth of our social footprint.

- Lee Odden, TopRank Marketing Founder

2016-03-17T12:43:14+00:00
When we market events like Content Marketing World, MarketingProfs B2B Forum and others, Keyhole helps us track use of the event hashtag and which influencers are engaging. The Keyhole dashboard has been very helpful for reporting on the impact we’ve had at influencing influencers as they publish content around an event using the hashtag. Keyhole definitely frees up time from manual monitoring and has contributed to the growth of our social footprint. - Lee Odden, TopRank Marketing Founder

The Social Media Professor

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- Aurora Meyer, University of Missouri Adjunct Professor

2016-03-17T12:50:55+00:00
My office uses Keyhole for analytics. Good price, great conversation monitor. Saves me at least 5 hours a week. - Aurora Meyer, University of Missouri Adjunct Professor

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Saif Ajani

Saif Ajani

Co-Founder at Keyhole
Saif co-founded Keyhole. He believes punctuation marks belong outside quotations.
Saif Ajani

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