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The Government’s back … online! Our 7 favorite apps and accounts that have returned

Finally, the government shutdown is over! While those endless happy hours enjoyed by furloughed federal employees were fun (mostly because they often resulted in drunken online rants), it’s a relief that order has (hopefully) returned. Not only can you re-visit your shuttered plans for seeing national landmarks in person, you may now get back to enjoying your favorite government-owned sites, apps, and social media accounts.

If you haven’t been following any of them before, now is a good time as any to start doing so!

1. The official NASA Goddard Instagram account

There are a number of reasons why NASA won the recent Shorty Awards for the #Government category, but we really don’t need to get into that in full detail. Instead, we’ll just show you one of their more active social media accounts, belonging to the Goddard Space Flight Center.

Additionally, here’s a pretty cool photo of the northern lights taken by Astronaut Mike Hopkins during the shutdown, posted through NASA’s main Instagram:

2. The Curiosity Rover on Twitter

Inasmuch as I enjoy the view of Mars through the (original) Total Recall movie, nothing beats the real thing. Now that the mission is back in commission, expect to enjoy more snapshots of the red planet:

3. AsteroidWatch on Twitter

Really, all of NASA’s accounts should be on this list, but we promise this’ll be the last one.

The best thing about @AsteroidWatch being back is we can now rest easy knowing that we’ll know through Twitter right away if the world is about to go in Deep Impact or Armageddon fashion (also, movie metaphors are awesome).

Yay, no life-ending, flaming space rocks hurtling our way!

4. Smithsonian National Zoo app

The panda cams are back!

As to be expected, the entire Internet is just too happy to be able to see Mei Xiang and cub go about their day, so the online feed may still be spotty.

However, for only $1.99, you can enjoy uninterrupted live streaming of the panda cam through the official Smithsonian National Zoo app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices. Other features include detailed animal information, maps, and tour tips.

national zoo app

5. The official White House Tumblr

The White House is actually all over the social media space, but we find the fact that our government has an official Tumblrblog is way too cool not to be singled out on this list. There’s really no better way to learn more about President Obama’s day-to-day than through GIFs.

Tonight, President Obama addressed the nation on Syria. Watch the speech: WH.gov/Syria

6. National Park Service Web cameras

One of the best things about the government shutdown being over is the fact that all national parks that have been closed off to the public are now once again accepting visitors. While outdoor lovers are free to go to any of the 401 national parks located all over the country, 18 of them are free for online sightseeing via webcam. Just click on any dot on the map to view a photo of your desired park.

national park webcams

Webcam photos are refreshed every 15 minutes. Other information provided include current air quality and weather, so you can plan your next hike or camping trip more efficiently.

national park webcams yosemite

7. NPS National Mall app

Most of the country’s famous landmarks are also open for business, including the National Mall, located in Washington D.C. On your next visit to the country’s capital, it’d be a great advantage to have the National Mall app installed, either on your iOS or Android device. Features include an easy-to-use map, walking directions, landmark information, and a Park Lens feature that allows you to view your surroundings with augmented reality by holding your device up and looking through the camera.

national mall app