February 5, 2010
NASA is inviting space buffs to tweet the crew of the space shuttle.
Astronaut Mike Massimino, who will be at Mission Control, will take questions live from his public Twitter account until Feb. 11 and relay them to the crew aboard Endeavour, which is slated to lift off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center on Sunday. Massimino's Twitter name is Astro_Mike. The public can start sending their questions to him as soon as today, NASA said. Endeavour is set to embark on a 13-day mission, during which the crew will perform three spacewalks and deliver the Tranquility node to the International Space Station. Another NASA astronaut made history last month by posting to Twitter directly from space. At approximately 3:38 a.m. EST on Jan. 22, T.J. Creamer wrote the first message ever posted directly to the micro-blogging service from somewhere other than planet Earth. "Hello Twitterverse!," wrote Creamer, under the user name Astro_TJ. "We r now LIVE tweeting from the International Space Station—the 1st live tweet from Space! ," Creamer said. Creamer's Twitter followers are becoming legion. He had about 5,000 followers on his first day on the service, but that number had mushroomed to more than 29,000 as of Friday. NASA astronauts have posted Twitter messages in the past, but they first had to be relayed to Mission Control. Now, residents of the ISS can post directly to Twitter thanks to a new, direct Internet connection. Dubbed the Crew Support LAN, the system relies on existing communication links to give astronauts full Web connectivity. The crew also has access to e-mail, VoIP, and videoconferencing tools. NASA said the astronauts posts are subject to the same guidelines that cover government employees' use of social media on terra firma. InformationWeek has published a report on how telepresence is turning video communications into a near in-person experience. Download the report here (registration required).
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