Launch: Roving Reporter-nauts

I noticed something really amazing last night during the Expedition 25 Soyuz launch to Space Station: social media tools are transforming our astronauts into behind-the-scenes reporters.

And what a wonderful thing!

Soyuz Launch by @AstroIronMike

Soyuz Launch by @AstroIronMike

Seeing a picture of the Soyuz launch from Astronaut Mike Fincke‘s iphone just seems to feel more intimate and amazing than images taken by professional photographers.

With @Astro_Ron Garan on the backup crew, we get a glimpse inside the inner circle of an exclusive club — those who strap themselves onto rockets for the ride of their lives into space. We get to see what they see. How cool to see astronauts reporting the experience for their fellow astronauts.

I don’t know about you, but I’m really loving this new social media communication revolution.

Here are a few twitpics Ron posted last night:

Astronaut Scott Kelly Receiving Traditional Blessing

Astronaut Scott Kelly Receiving Traditional Blessing

Special Boots for Scott

Special Boots for Scott

Ron and Scott pre-launch

Ron and Scott pre-launch

I especially love this pic (below) from behind the glass. It reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode, “People are Alike All Over,” where an astronaut  finds himself a caged exhibit in a Martian zoo. I wonder if that what it feels like just before launch….

Behind the Glass Walls

Behind the Glass Walls

Soyuz in Sight

Soyuz in Sight

Long Walk to Launch
I love this trippy pic of the walk to Soyuz.
Soyuz on Launch pad

Soyuz on Launch pad

Ron will launch to the International Space Station on a Soyuz in March 2011. You can follow his training on the Fragile Oasis website. He keeps adding new bloggernauts to his astro-community. STS-133 Nicole Stott and Expedition 25 Doug Wheelock are already onboard. Astronaut Don Pettit is gearing up to post hundreds of Science in Space articles and videos.

The Fragile Oasis objectives:

  • Get the word out that the International Space Station is an incredible global asset;
  • Highlight the scientific advancements being accomplished on the International Space Station;
  • Inspire students to academic excellence;
  • Allow people to “experience” living and working in space vicariously through crew; members currently living on the International Space Station; and
  • Use the unique orbital perspective to inspire people to improve life on our planet.

Soon we’ll have a community component on Fragile Oasis that you can be part of. Stay tuned for more features in the next weeks and months. Ron has a HUGE vision for sharing the relevance of space with those of us on Earth.

I’m so thrilled to see our astronauts embrace new technology to leverage ways to let the rest of us join them on their journeys. Again, what a WONderful thing!!

4 Comments

Filed under astronaut, culture, Earth, leadership, NASA, social media, space, technology

4 responses to “Launch: Roving Reporter-nauts

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Launch: Roving Reporter-nauts « Bethbeck's Blog -- Topsy.com

  2. Beth – Further to my FB comment, I agree (by the way, when I mentioned Kissinger, I didn’t know you were also a political scientist). You capture it well. As to the new social media, I have mixed thoughts. Leaving aside the impact on young people who are learning to text before they learn to interact on a human-level (a scary thing) … in and of itself, much of it is tremendous – and especially when considering the increasingly poor quality of traditional media today. It naturally also has the potential to raise the level of critical thought, analysis, and – hopefully bring all to a higher-minded society. (Ron’s work, for example, is an amazing step in that direction. Indeed, his blog has some good humor in it as well.) However, I would like to know how best to avoid information over-load more generally, or rather, achieve simplicity from all the complexity? Like many, I enjoy mindless ‘entertainment’ every now and then (even the “Jersey Shore” – though why that show I am not sure…) but going to the same point, a NYT’s columnist (Friedman) wrote that a job for the future is “search optimizer”. How to funnel all the information so as to make one’s time more efficient and therefore, productive? In other words, how to pick out the flowers amidst all the weeds vis-a-vis the many media stories available? (I am no writer – but hope my intended point is made.) As a further example, I routinely can go into a bookstore and pull-out / sit down with perhaps 25 books that look interesting. It rarely fails that of the 25, however, maybe only 1 impresses. Perhaps it’s a tech thing yet to be developed but I would welcome your thoughts here. The masses need direction… Thanks. Mike

    • bethbeck

      I don’t find youth and texting scary at all (except when they’re driving or “sexting,” which is horrifying). It’s simply the newest form of communication. Can you imagine what it was like for folks who moved from personal story-telling to radio? They probably saw it as impersonal and frightening, since it was a faceless voice speaking to them from a box.

      Info overload is very real. The only way to make sense of all the noise is to find a few valued communication vehicles and let them sort for you. In social media, I love that I can set up streams of info that come directly to me. And I find new voices by seeing who my valued sources recommend.

      So it’s still word-of-mouth, but a virtual version. For space content, you can see what the community finds valuable by checking in on NASA Buzzroom. You can see at a glance what links, pics, videos the community shares. It’s still a small virtual world, after all. That’s our “search optimizer.”

      Technology offers many search optimizers online. For instance, Barnes and Noble and Amazon use tools to recommend new books/authors to me, based on my purchases. On iTunes, the Genius sidebar recommends songs/artists I might like based on the song I’m listening too. Now I signed up for Ping, which is a social media tool for sharing music. You can sign up for blogs that you like and have updates emailed to you.

      Yes, info overload is a huge issue, but we filter the noise just like we do with friends and colleagues — we listen to trusted sources. Finding the trusted sources…now that’s the challenge. ;)

  3. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your site? My blog is in the exact same niche as yours and my visitors would definitely benefit from some of the information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Appreciate it!

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