The furlough that occurred in October affected hundreds of thousands of employees. Some were directly employed by the federal government while others (including my husband) were contractors who also found themselves out of work for two weeks. However, while the world below bickered and bantered and dealt with a government shut down, certain government employees were barely affected, including those who orbit above the earth.
Mike Hopkins and Karen L. Nyberg (of stuffed dinosaur fame) had no choice but to continue in their orbit above our planet. Ensconsed as they were in the international Space Station, the two astronauts kept busy by taking photographs of Earth. Each photograph was tweeted along with a comment in regards to what it was they were photographing. Some beautiful and extraordinary pictures were captured in the process. While I doubt I’ll ever make it out to space, I have to admire the magnificence of our planet and am grateful to those who pass beyond the atmosphere and brave the unknown to capture such beauty. Head over to the Washington Post and admire the pictures for yourself. Perhaps it will help give perspective for your character and his or her experiences in the sim!