NASA administrator, Charles Bolden, has confirmed that the ongoing Federal shutdown was not the cause of the space agency's surprise cessation of activities related to human spaceflight.
Speaking to reporters at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC, Bolden explained that he had personally ordered all astronauts on the International Space Station to return to Earth immediately and that he would be recommending to the Whitehouse that the station, alongside any plans for future manned space missions, be completely scrapped.
"After watching [the film] Gravity, it dawned on me that space is just too dangerous for humans. Did you see what that debris did to the shuttle?" he said, looking visibly unsettled.
"It was completely totalled. Billions of dollars of taxpayers' money, wiped out by a little space junk. And don't get me started on the astronauts, I don't wanna give any spoilers, but those high velocity fragments screwed the crew up pretty bad too."
Gravity, the universally acclaimed space drama film by director Alfonso Cuarón, stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts on a spacewalk when disaster strikes their shuttle.
Administrator Bolden, himself a former astronaut, said that he would never have joined the space programme had he seen the film 35 years ago. "If we were meant to go to space, why is it so goddamn inhospitable? We should all just stay here, where it's safe", he added.
He also remarked that even though he found the film rather disturbing, he thought Sandra Bullock's character was incredibly brave, and that he could see something of himself in George Clooney's charming portrayal of the mission commander.
When pressed on whether it was an overreaction to end the era of human space flight based on a work of fiction, Bolden simply replied "looked pretty damn real to me"