Following Mike Massimino (Astro Mike) on Twitter? Don't forget to follow Mark Polansky (Astro 127) too

Monday, June 08, 2009


Last month's mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope was notable not just for the mission itself but also the first usage of Twitter in space by Mike Massimino, who by the way is still very interesting to follow even after coming back to Earth. Looks like he's pretty busy with interviews now that post-flight procedures are all done and life is back to normal. Followers for Massimino have now surpassed 400,000 (Oprah has 1.3 million, so a third of that is quite impressive).

The next Shuttle mission (Endeavour) will begin on the 13th, and this will be a return to the norm: going to the International Space Station to install another component, in this case the third part of the Japanese Kibō (きぼう). On this mission as well will be another astronaut who has a Twitter account, namely Mark Polansky. You can see that he has a number of followers that most people would be jealous of (17,000+), but I think he could stand to have a few hundred thousand more, so make sure to follow his account as well. It's interesting to see the preparations going on before the mission, and his thoughts as he goes through the process.

Here are a few examples.

Hard to say whether this mission will get as much press as the Hubble mission. The Hubble mission was a pretty historic one and a bit of a nail-biter, but then again this mission will also result in 13 people being on the ISS at the same time which could also be pretty interesting. It's a new record, after all. Note that it's not a new record for the total number of people in space (this has reached 13 a few times before, including March this year), but it will be a new record for the number of people in the same spot - the times before when the total population in space reached 13 it included people on the ISS, some on the Soyuz, etc. And what's interesting about having a certain number of people in space is not simply having them up there, but having them up there in the same spot, and the increased possibility for more complex interaction that we humans seem to be addicted to keeping an eye on.

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