NASA Selfies 03

NASA Spaces Out Its Social Media Orbit

The space agency reveals its first in-space Instagram post. Surprise: It's a selfie!

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NASA is constantly fine-tuning the ways it can get us all pumped about space. In the past, the agency reported planetary explorations on Twitter, and recorded a Bowie song from orbit, but because this is 2014, and because we are visual learners, and struggle to understand life without a lo-fi filter, NASA is turning to Instagram to document astronauts’ travels.

Cue the first-ever Instagram to be posted from outside Earth’s atmosphere, taken Monday aboard the International Space Station (which fittingly now has its own Instagram account). At the forefront of this selfie-with-a-view is astronaut Steven R. Swanson, who poses inside the ISS’s cupola, a dome with seven windows that together make up the largest window in space.

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"Back on ISS, life is good." - Swanny

#nasa #iss #exp39 #cupola #international #space #station #soyuz #earth Posted: 7 April 2014

Swanson’s photo isn’t the first selfie ever to be taken in space. That honor goes to a snap by astronaut Mike Hopkins, who performed two space walks in December, one of which was a Christmas walk that NASA live-tweeted and live-streamed in all its technological glory.

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On Dec. 24, 2013, NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, Expedition 38 Flight Engineer, participates in the second of two U.S. spacewalks, spread over a four-day period, which were designed to allow the crew to change out a faulty water pump on the exterior of the Earth-orbiting International Space Station. He was joined on both spacewalks by NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio, whose image shows up in Hopkins' helmet visor.

Today, Dec. 27, 2013, Expedition 38 Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) have ventured outside the orbiting outpost to install a pair of high fidelity cameras on a platform attached to the Zvezda Service Module as part of a commercial arrangement between Roscosmos and a Canadian company to downlink Earth observation imagery. This is the last of six Russian spacewalks planned for this year.

Image Credit: NASA
#spacewalk #astronauts #astropix #earth #nasa #iss #spacestation #exp38 #nofilter Posted: 27 December 2013

While the first in-space tweet arrived on Earth in 2009, back when astronaut Mike Massimino told Earth-dwellers he was “enjoying the magnificent views” from up above, NASA has done some particularly cute things on the Internet as of late. Straight out of a New York Times trend piece, the agency announced last month it would crowdsource its next generation of space suits, offering people who would probably never go to space the chance to choose the outfits worn by our brave, curious astronauts. (As of now, 200,000 people have weighed in.)

NASA’s ever-expanding digital brand also means more community outreach. In January, NASA and the Planetary Society (Bill Nye’s brainchild that studies all things space) let average Americans send their names to space aboard the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, a robotic spaceship traveling to asteroid Bennu and returning in 2023. The people who submitted their names got this admittedly underwhelming certificate in return.

If you’d like to “be a part of the conversation,” you can follow NASA and its peer agencies on almost every social media platform—including Foursquare, for all the folks planning to check in to Mars, literally.

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