Tweeting the adventure of a lifetime

Back in 2005, blogs and podcasts were the envelopes being pushed, so to speak, by many in organizations large and small.

One push that captured imaginations – certainly it captured mine – was NASA’s podcast experiment from space.

In August 2005, during the Space Shuttle Discovery’s flight in earth orbit, Mission Specialist Steve Robinson recorded the first podcast from space.

Moving along to today, the tools that enable people to do things that capture imaginations have evolved and become far more widely available to literally anyone on the planet.

Among those tools is Twitter, a service that hardly needs much explanation these days as it continues to gain mainstream attention.

So it’s little surprise to see another NASA astronaut pushing an envelope with Twitter as Steve Robinson did with his podcast from space.

Astronaut Mike Massimino is tweeting his thoughts from the Space Shuttle Atlantis on its current mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. So far, Massimino has acquired over 242,000 followers.

He’s not the only NASA astronaut on Twitter: astronaut Mark Polansky is doing that as well.

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The LA Times reports that Polansky has bigger plans for social media on his next space trip in June.

[…] during his crew’s mission to the International Space Station, scheduled for June, he plans to both issue Twitter updates and take questions from YouTube users — questions that he will answer live from space.

"Your questions and my answers from space will be broadcast nationwide on NASA television during the mission," he said. "My crew and I are ready to fly and looking forward to sharing the excitement with you."

Polansky instructed users to submit 30-second response videos to YouTube, and then send the link to his Twitter account (presumably he means via an @ reply).  As of this writing, Polansky’s account had only 234 followers.

Right now, he has nearly 7,700 followers. It’s a start.

Such imaginative ways to capture hearts and minds about space exploration and NASA’s role, not to mention the individual astronauts making direct connections with other people.

(Related: Shel and I discussed Polansky’s plans in FIR #447 on May 11.)


Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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