Category Archives: Fragile Oasis

Very Spacey Social Media Week in DC

This week was social media week around the world. How cool to participate on the Breakfast Kickoff Panel, and our NASA Tweetup with Space Station Astronaut Ron Garan. Here is a snapshot of DC Social Media Week chatter: a little space on Earth.

@skytland tweet

DC Social Media Week Kickoff

Peter @Corbett3000 kicks off DC Social Media Week

Social Media Week @GoogleDC tweet

Social Media Week @InTheCapital Tweet

Social Media Week @jnetter tweet

Social Media Week @yourdailyphil tweet

Social Media Week @Isaldarriaga tweet

DC Social Media Week Panel

Fellow Panelist @AlliHouseworth + Moderator Bonnie Shaw @bon_zai

Social Media Week @AlliHouseworth Tweet

DC Social Media Week

Fellow Panelist Ryan Hill @Hirshorn

Social Media Week @R_Steinbach tweet

Social Media Week @SMWWDC tweet

Social Media Week @bon_zai tweet

On Tuesday, NASA hosted three Space Station astronauts: Mike Fossum, Cady Coleman, and Ron Garan. They debriefed NASA Headquarters employees, met with Members of Congress and staff, and split off for separate events. Cady and Mike when to an event at the Air and Space Museum while Ron hosted space tweeps at the NASA tweetup at NASA Headquarters in downtown DC.

NASA tweetup @Astro_Cady Tweet

@AndreasSchepers Tweet

NASA tweetup @NASAhqphoto Tweet

NASA tweetup @schierholz Tweet

NASA Tweetup @andresdavid Tweet

NASA tweetup @bethbeck Tweet

NASA tweetup @Astro_Ron Tweet

NASA Tweetup @KelleyApril Tweet

NASA tweetup @bethbeck Tweet

NASA Tweetup @Sig727 Tweet

NASA tweetup Crowd. Photo: NASA/Carla Cioffi

NASA tweetup Crowd. Photo: NASA/Carla Cioffi

NASA tweetup @Astro_Ron Tweet

NASA Tweetup @datachick Tweet

Thanks for letting me share a few highlights from a great week! And a real treat for me: trending in DC during Social Media Week!

Social Media Week @TrendsDC tweet

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Filed under astronaut, Fragile Oasis, NASA, social media, tweet-up

2011 My Space: Top 10 Off-Planet Pics

View from Space Station: 16 Moonrises Each Day. Photo by Astronaut Ron Garan

View from Space Station: 16 Moonrises Each Day. Photo by Astronaut Ron Garan.

STS-134 Endeavour docked to Space Station

STS-134 Endeavour docked to Space Station.

Astronauts Mike Fincke reflected in Greg Chamitoff's visor. Final spacewalk by Space Shuttle crew.

Astronauts Mike Fincke reflected in Greg Chamitoff's visor. Final spacewalk by Space Shuttle crew.

STS-134 Space Shuttle Endeavor docked to Space Station: Photo by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli

STS-134 Space Shuttle Endeavor docked to Space Station: Photo by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli

Mosaic of 48 Saturn images from the Cassini spacecraft

Mosaic of 48 Saturn images from the Cassini spacecraft.

STS-135 final mission to Space Station with US flag flown on STS-1.

STS-135 final mission to Space Station with US flag flown on STS-1.

Atlantis docked to Space Station

STS-135 Atlantis docked to Space Station.

STS-135 Space Shuttle Atlantis leaving Space Station. Photo by Expediton 28 crew.

STS-135 Space Shuttle Atlantis leaving Space Station. Photo by Expediton 28 crew.

NASA's Spitzer space telescope shows "stellar nursery" around Orion's sword.

NASA's Spitzer space telescope shows "stellar nursery" around Orion's sword.

Comet Lovejoy: Photo by Space Station Expedition 30 Commander Dan Burbank.

Comet Lovejoy: Photo by Space Station Expedition 30 Commander Dan Burbank.

TOO many images to choose from — which is a good thing. I hope these give you a flavor for space.

A special 2011 space thanks to Expedition 27/28 Astronaut Ron Garan for your visionary leadership for Fragile Oasis. Your willingness to share  your Space Station experience made space seem closer for those of us who are gravity-challenged. Elyse David, you are amazing. Thanks for keeping Fragile Oasis going 24/7. Donna Connell, you juggled all our requirements for LAUNCH and Fragile Oasis, and ensured we were totally covered contractually. You ROCKet! Ben Slavin, you’re my hero. I’m so glad you’re on the team. We wouldn’t have made it through the year without you.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to host several tweetups at our last Space Shuttle launches. I gained so many new friendships with space tweeps from around the world. I will treasure my time with the ESA/DLR colleagues at the two Space Tweetups across the ocean. Getting to know ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti was a highlight for 2011. I look forward to the time when she’s telling her stories from space.

Though we’ve closed out the Space Shuttle program, we continue to support a crew of six humans onboard Space Station 240 miles overhead, orbiting Earth every 91 minutes at a speed of 17,500 miles per hour. We have much work ahead in 2012. I’m eager to get started.

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Welcome to Gravityland @Astro_Ron

Moonrise

Ron Garan's Moonrise from Space Station September 12, 2011

Astronaut Ron Garan departs Space Station Thursday, September 15. I know his family is elated. He’s been gone for six months. I have to admit. I’m having the opposite reaction. I’ve truly enjoyed his tweets, twitpics, blogs, vlogs…and, yes, phone calls from space.

As founder of Fragile Oasis, Ron tirelessly provided fresh content for NASA’s fledgling website to ensure we tell the story of space in a way that inspires Earth-bound citizens to want to make this world a better place. From the unique point of view only our astronauts can provide, we learn about our blue planet — a fragile oasis suspended in an extremely hostile universe. Fragile Oasis features projects submitted by the community to contribute to a better tomorrow. Take a moment to browse the awe-inspiring projects on the site.

Fragile Oasis

Ron is the Founding Bloggernaut for Fragile Oasis.

“The focus is not on the problems of the world but on how the problems of the world are being solved by amazing people.” — @FragileOasis

I first met Ron at our LAUNCH:Water forum, when Ron’s Manna Energy was selected as one of ten disruptive innovations. I had no idea he was an astronaut. How cool is that! When he went to Star City to train for his time on Space Station, Elyse David and I both received phone calls from Russia with a new brainchild: Fragile Oasis. And now you can join Fragile Oasis too — simply by signing in through Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn.

I have to say, working with Ron brought some really cool perks — like photos from space.

Photo of my family in Soweto flown in space

My daughter Steph, my mother and I are visiting a day care in Soweto, South Africa.

A green screen Space Station photo of me in the actual Space Station

A green screen Space Station photo of me in the actual Space Station. Oh the irony.

The photo immediately above is from NASA’s Galactic Explorer Module, one of my first creations in my current job as Outreach Manager. We created a green screen kiosk that allows individuals and groups to go to space and back in 30 seconds (ok, not really, but it’s as close as we can offer on the ground) and email their photo/video to friends and family. This was years before social media hit the scene — but our early attempt at viral messaging.

This green screen photo of me with Space Station as a backdrop is now up in space inside the real Space Station. Too cool for words!

Ron thrilled dozens of space tweeps when he called to say hello at our STS-135 tweetup. He’s called each one of our Fragile Oasis team members from space. It seems like a simple thing to do, but a phone call from space is just over the moon! Well not literally, but you get my point.

Ron, we’ll miss having you in space. You’ve been an amazing ambassador. I’m sure you’ll have us running around the moment you climb out of your Soyuz capsule in Kazakhstan this week. See you soon.

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Filed under astronaut, Earth, Fragile Oasis, LAUNCH, NASA, space, tweet-up

Peace on Planet Earth

Moonrise over Earth

Moonrise over Earth. Photo: Astronaut Ron Garan

I keep thinking about this photo in contrast to the East Coast craziness we experienced this week: Earthquake DeeCee and Hurricane Irene. But, viewed with a bit of perspective, neither of these events caused devastation like we’ve seen around the world in Haiti or Japan or Indonesia or New Zealand. Nor can these events compare to unrest in the Middle East and droughts in Africa.

  • No building toppled onto of me.
  • No 20-ft waves flattened the landscape or carried my loved ones out to sea.
  • Hunger never gives me more than a twinge of discomfort.
  • Bullets and bombs don’t force me into hiding.

Yes,we snipe at each other over politics, but our elections are free and open.

We have a bad day when someone at work treats us poorly, or we get in snarled traffic, or the AC goes out. Heaven forbid the TV cable decides to act up and delay our “On Demand” selection.

We have SO much to be thankful for in our land of plenty.

Our astronauts’ point-of-view gives me such a rich perspective. In @Astro_Ron‘s photo above, I see our world at peace. Yes, Mother Nature seems on the warpath, but we humans can learn how to get along better. We can make better choices to live together as a global community of caring individuals. Can’t we?

For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. — James 3:16-18

As you can tell, I feel reflective in the calm after the storm. How ’bout you? Ask yourself a few questions:

  • What do you care about most?
  • What excites you to get out of bed every morning?
  • What dreams have you left untouched?
  • What’s stopping you from achieving your dreams?

Do you want to make this world a better place? I do! Join others who feel the same on Fragile Oasis.

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Touching Lives

“Life is not a path of coincidence, happenstance, and luck, but rather an unexplainable, meticulously charted course for one to touch the lives of others and make a difference in the world.” — Barbara Dillinham

My daughter Steph came home from a year in Africa yesterday. She served as a counselor to young victims of trauma and abuse for Bethany House in Krugersdorp outside Johannesburg, South Africa. She was heartbroken to leave all the children behind who took captive her heart, as well as all the friends and colleagues who made her year so special.

Steph in Africa

Her cat Sammy (my furry grandchild) kept circling around her, sniffing her clothes and hair. She doesn’t smell the same way she did when she left. He wonders if she’s the same Steph who left our house one year ago. He’s right. She’s not.

After a year of living and working in another continent at the bottom of the world in a totally different culture surrounded by ten unique languages and the vestige of apartheid, she changed. As a professional counselor, she listened to stories of heartbreak and horror from children who:

  • lost their parents to the ravages of the creature called AIDS that devours the lives of an entire generation of adults (and may have AIDS themselves),
  • live with their grannies (who can’t afford to feed/care for all the little ones left to them),
  • or an abusive family member,
  • or pretend to live with a family member but instead serve as the child head-of-household for their younger siblings;
  • have very little to eat and too many responsibilities to study,
  • see no hope for the future, and
  • often believe suicide is the only way out.

Steph’s world view altered irrevocably. In a good way — though at times she too lost hope, overwhelmed by the despair she encountered. Many of the children she’s come to love won’t live to the age of 14. AIDS will claim them too. Each time, she had to shake off the weight of the world,  take a breath, and start over again. She’s a plucky little thing, I must say. She touches lives. She changes hearts. She transforms the hopeless by offering tools to deal with their emotions and circumstances.

Many are tempted to give up if we can’t solve ALL the world’s problems. Instead, the answer is for each of us to do what we can to make a difference: one person, one problem, one day at a time.

I may not get to spend my days out in the field helping people, at least I can take steps to make the world a better place through creative programs at NASA, like LAUNCH and Fragile Oasis. My small contribution is helping to inspire citizens of this planet through our space endeavors to take special care of our communities and neighbors — AND sending both my daughters off into the far reaches of this world to help others.

What are you doing to make a difference inside your circle of influence? A smile. A hug. No effort is too small to touch lives in a positive way.

For now, I’m doing lots of smiling and hugging, now that Steph is back!

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Filed under Africa, Bethany House Trust, Fragile Oasis, LAUNCH, poverty, space