The morning after the ESA/DLR SpaceTweetup, NASA’s Stephanie Schierholz and I met with Marco Trovatello and Henning Krause of the Germany Space Agency DLR and Fulvio Drigani, Erica Rolfe, Daniel Scuka, Andreas Schepers of the European Space Agency ESA to talk lessons learned from the first-ever European tweetup. Great sharing ideas and good practices across agencies.
Erica, bless her heart, traveled with me to Italy for the next ESA tweetup at the ESRIN facility. We took a train from Cologne to Frankfurt. A plane from Frankfurt to Rome. And a taxi through congested evening traffic to Frascati, located south of Rome.
ESRIN is ESA’s European Space Research Institute – the center for Earth Observation. No one prepared me for the little piece of paradise I would encounter in the land of olive trees, lavendar bushes, grape vines, and cappuccino bars!
On Thursday, ESA hosted a small group of space tweeps for a one-on-one question and answer session with the MagISStra crew, ESA’s name for the Expedition 26-27 Space Station crew: @Astro_Paolo Nespoli and @Astro_Cady Coleman. @AstroSamantha Cristoforetti was part of the panel as well.
Each of the tweeps had been invited for their support during @Astro_Paolo’s mission, or for winning ESA twitter contests, or for supporting the mission within ESA. @NickAstronomer won the golden ticket as the 25,000th @ESA twitter follower. Here is the list (forgive me if I missed someone): @TiraLondon, @SpaceKate, @mariiabennet, @nhaima, @Stelygs, @pressarea,@mattegianni, and @HimeIshida.
After our session with the astronauts, we toured the facilities at ESRIN. Here we are wearing our cool spacey 3-D shades to watch GOCE satellite image animations.
After the tour, we headed out to Frascati to an event with the Mayor, citizens, and astronauts.
They posed for pictures in front of this statue. I’m not sure the story behind the second head, but it can’t be good….
Great day all around!!
Special thanks and well-deserved praise for my ESA colleagues. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share your world with you this past week. I want to take a few moments to thank you each individually.
Words can’t begin to express my appreciation for you. You are a gracious and cheerful host, all the while juggling several events, social media, and family. You made sure I had rides to the ESA office and events, a place to work, and plenty of opportunity to share ideas with ESA staff. Erica, you’re truly AWEsome. Virtual applause for all that you do. Thanks for sprinkling me with your star dust.
In fact, @Astro_Paolo presented an award to Erica, but she missed it. She was presiding over a facilities tour with invited space tweeps.)
Thanks for your vision and support for the role social media can play in connecting Earthlings with space. Your easy laugh is a delight. I look forward to working closely with you when we hatch our future partnership plots. We have so much to gain by working together more closely.
Frederic Le Gall:
Thanks for your probing questions and lively debate over how best to tell the story of space and allocate scarce resources. You made me think the most! I look forward to the FAB new ideas you have in mind for future projects. Let us know when you’re ready to collaborate.
You are an absolute doll for picking me up at my hotel each morning, taking care of badging and wifi access, making sure I have coins for the vending machines, copying your map to keep me from getting lost, and overall cheerful support. You put me at ease and helped me feel at home. I’ve never felt so welcome. Truly. You’re wonderful.
Though you didn’t come back to Italy with us, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for taking care of me in Cologne. Your sense of humor and chill demeanor helped ease my jet-lagged slogginess. And I enjoyed your German, even though the taxi-drivers made you switch to English. My regards to your Texan wife!!
I’m inspired by your passion, enthusiasm, and great perspective on life. You’ve embraced the social media tools as a way to help share the story of space. You really “get it,” which makes life easy for those of us who want to help you do your job in the best way you can. Thanks for catching the vision. Your journey to space can be our journey too, if we can go with you through social media. Glad to see you on Google+ too!
Thanks ESA. I wave my flag (or your flag) in your honor!
@Astro_Paolo Nespoli posed a question to tweeps after the ESRIN tweetup:
“What do you get out of social media. What does it do for you?”
We all gave him good reasons, but it struck me on the flight home that without social media, I would never have met any of the folks at ESA or DLR, nor would I have been invited to attend these super cool SpaceTweetups. I met my communications colleagues through Twitter, not through normal work channels.
I’ll leave you with a quick glimpse of Rome. I’m ready to go back and spend some time enjoying the sights!