Sure, maybe no one can hear you scream in space, but they’ll definitely listen when you start tweeting. NASA astronaut Ron Garan spent about an hour on Sunday answering people’s questions from within the International Space Station as it floated above the Earth.
As far as I know, Garan (@Astro_Ron) is the only person to have hosted a live hashtag chat from over 200 miles over the Earth.
Garan has been tweeting periodically from space for some time. He is currently living in the International Space Station, and will have spent a total of 6 months straight living in space before he comes back down to Earth. His tweets and his insightful blog (Fragile Oasis) are some amazing examples of how social media can connect those who are not even on the Earth’s surface with the rest of us Earthlings. If you are curious about the life of astronauts or the NASA and International Space Station programs, Fragile Oasis offers a great glimpse into the vastness of space as seen from Garan’s point of view.
On Sunday, Garan, who is known for sending out tweets from the Space Station, tweeted the following:
Using the hashtag #FromSpace to tag all of the questions and answers. this would become the first live hashtag chat from space.
He began taking questions, which included whether he sent down pictures from space (he does), whether he likes snow cones (he does) and, thankfully, a link to a blog post explaining how he is able to tweet from space:
“In addition to an IP (Internet) phone which we can use to call friends and loved ones on Earth, we also have access to the Internet through a remote desktop. Whenever we have the proper satellite communications coverage, I can remotely control a computer located in Houston. This is what enables me to Tweet my experiences in almost real time and to answer your questions. So now you know!”
Here are some cool facts about life in space uncovered during Garan’s hashtag chat:
- The temperature outside the International Space Station is about +250F in the sunlight and -250F in the shade
- Astronauts are normally awake on the International Space Station from 0600-2130GMT
- Space smells like burnt metal
- During the hour-long chat, the Space Station traveled half way around the world from Japan to Africa, and saw one sunrise and one sunset