Twits in space
May 11, 2009 7:01 AM   Subscribe

Astronaut Mike Massimino is twittering his experiences today, as he undergoes preparations for launch to the Hubble Space Telescope. He is supposed to keep up the updates during the entire mission.
posted by Catfry (44 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
#I'm stepping through the door. 10:04 AM May 11th from web

#I'm floating in a most peculiar way. 10:05 AM May 11th from web

#The stars look very different today. 10:06 AM May 11th from web
posted by Joe Beese at 7:07 AM on May 11, 2009 [31 favorites]


GroundController: @Astro_Mike, whose shirt do you wear?

Astro_Mike: I'm floating in a most peculiar way. The sky looks very different today.

GroundController: @Astro_Mike lolwut?
posted by The Whelk at 7:08 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


DOUBLE JINX
posted by The Whelk at 7:08 AM on May 11, 2009


Sweet. I'll be following this.

Also, despite what people always claim, this is the first time I've ever seen anyone mention anything about breakfast on Twitter.
posted by bondcliff at 7:08 AM on May 11, 2009


In repentance I will link to the recently released promotional videos from Bowie's early career


Space Oddity from Love You Til Tuesday


it's a bigger, stranger sound than the LP recording.

Actually, bigger and stranger describes early Bowie just as well.
posted by The Whelk at 7:13 AM on May 11, 2009


Final check with the doctors, getting ready for breakfast.

Doctors + breakfasts + space travel + twitter = the future is now.
posted by DU at 7:17 AM on May 11, 2009


#my god its full of stars. 12:99 AM May 75th from hal
posted by Pastabagel at 7:18 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is it gonna be personal twitter, "the stars don't flicker, space is cold, enormous. I miss trees and shadows", or scientific twitter, "the solution was to not rely on..."? The guy sounds so effing interesting I'll probably follow any way. What is he twittering with? Blackberry? How's he punch the keys with those big gloves? The future is fascinating.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:24 AM on May 11, 2009


LA needs better restaurants
about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerry

Final check with the doctors, getting ready for breakfast. We launch today!!
about 4 hours ago from TwitterBerry
posted by geoff. at 7:26 AM on May 11, 2009


How's he punch the keys with those big gloves?

They have a special space helmet that scans his cerebral cortex so he can post updates without an keypad.

I hope you didn't actually think he would be twittering while suited up.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:27 AM on May 11, 2009


It's amazing how some people can make one of the most extraordinary experiences one can have in this life read like a humdrum day at the office. Twitter is an interesting medium but it's no substitute for real journalism that explores the experience through the eyes of the common man. I guarantee that Massimino has experienced 20 things today that we would find fascinating but he's been through them so many times that he doesn't even notice enough to mention them.
posted by any major dude at 7:29 AM on May 11, 2009


I felt ten year-old kid tummy butterflies when I read his posts. Awesome!
posted by futureisunwritten at 7:31 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you're looking for a weird version of Space Oddity, look no further than David Matthews' take from his jazz-concept album Dune. The album itself has been widely sampled, and the guitar solo from this song in particular was used to excellent effect my MF Doom in "Coffin Nails," the backing track to "Rap Snitch Knishes."

Also, interesting post.
posted by saladin at 7:40 AM on May 11, 2009


She packed my bags last night, pre-flight.
Zero hour nine a.m.
And i'm gonna be high as a kite by then
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:41 AM on May 11, 2009


Single Link Twitter Post.

I heartily approve!

Enjoyed my last day on the planet for a couple of weeks with some study, practice, and last minute prep, but mostly trying to relax
posted by slimepuppy at 7:43 AM on May 11, 2009


Yes, while wearing the big gloves, while zipping through space at 17,500 kph, while "suited up" as you so charmingly put it. As though they ever take their suits off! I mean, they're in space! How would that look if they could just undress? That's right, totally fake!
posted by From Bklyn at 7:53 AM on May 11, 2009


MF Doom in "Coffin Nails"

That was shagadelic, thanks! Top five pick for spacewalk music.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:54 AM on May 11, 2009


I'm going to put my spacesuit on, next stop: Earth Orbit!!

Shouldn't you go to the bathroom first?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:54 AM on May 11, 2009


any major dude: Twitter is an interesting medium but it's no substitute for real journalism

Twitter is just a tool (medium), not a content (journalism). I suppose you mean: Mike Massimino is an interesting guy but he is no substitute for a real journalist. Then, you may be right, but until NASA sends up a (very good) journalist, I am very happy to have Mike opening the way.
posted by bru at 7:56 AM on May 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


I really like outer spaceness, but for the life of me can't find anything very interesting in his Tweets, and much prefer a more thoughtful backward look than urgently up-to-the-minute generic Twitter gems like "Just got back from the gym and am having dinner with my crew and our spouses." And damn if "reviewed spacewalking stuff this morning" doesn't accomplish the astonishing task of making spacewalking stuff seem boring. Maybe it is to him, at this point, but the addition of Twitter to this mix seems to me to detract at least as much as it adds.

Still, go apes in outer space!
posted by mediareport at 7:56 AM on May 11, 2009


So literally the day after I submit a twitter app to the iPhone app store that adds geolocation information to a tweet, they start twittering from outer space.

Is somebody trying to tell me something?
posted by DreamerFi at 8:03 AM on May 11, 2009


but until NASA sends up a (very good) journalist, I am very happy to have Mike opening the way.

Lots of astronauts from around the world have written about their experiences in outer space. Pretty much everything I've read by any of them has more interest and depth than what we're seeing on that page. Even in the realm of 140-characterish thoughts from astronauts, this awesome coffee-table book, which combines gorgeous photos with quotes from members of the multinational Association of Space Explorers about the spiritual and emotional joys of many aspects of being in space, from takeoff to touchdown, is much more revealing than Mike's tweeting so far.
posted by mediareport at 8:04 AM on May 11, 2009


allow me a small self-link to show that I'm speaking the truth on this: link. The app is currently in "review" status, so it's not yet available
posted by DreamerFi at 8:04 AM on May 11, 2009


#People watching is the best! I do a lot of it since I travel so much...looks like some really nice people on this flight...2-3 douche bags.
posted by mazola at 8:38 AM on May 11, 2009


Wait, what's going on here

On our way to the cape flying T-38's in formation, stopping in Alabama for fuel

He was twittering while flying a T-38 in formation?! Now that's skillz.
posted by jourman2 at 8:40 AM on May 11, 2009


mediareport: Lots of astronauts from around the world have written about their experiences in outer space.

I know. I agree. That wasn't my point. Sorry if I wasn't able to express it clearly. My point is: Twitter is a new tool. Even journalists are just now beginning to learn how to use it for journalism ends. There is no point in comparing Twitter (instant, short) with books (lots of time to think and edit, more space). Mike Massimino is not pioneering writing about experiencing outer space, he is pioneering using this tool, Twitter. It's significant enough to have my attention, even if he is not Tom Wolfe or Brian Greene.
posted by bru at 8:42 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I guess my point is that it doesn't seem to be a very good tool for the job.
posted by mediareport at 8:50 AM on May 11, 2009


I wanted to be a space man, that's what I wanted to be...
And now that I am a space man, no one cares about me.

and

"I am moving my left foot... I am moving my right foot..."
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 8:52 AM on May 11, 2009


Philip Morrison, the peerless book reviewer for Scientific American, suggested this book by handing his copy to me. "Read it."

He's right. It's far the best book on space exploration, and I suspect it is Fallaci's best work. She addresses herself throughout to her father, who loathes Space, and reaches him through the experiences they shared in the Italian Resistance during the war. ...

It's the chronicle of a conversion, reluctant, hard-fought, richly perceptive, convincing.

[[ "I love the Earth, do you understand? I love the leaves and the birds, the fish and the sea, the snow and the wind! And I love green and blue and all the colors and the smells, and that's all there is, do you understand? That's all we have, and I don't want to lose it on account of your rockets, do you understand?"

You grew white with anger. And your every muscle warned me to be quiet, not to go on with my nonsense. But I couldn't keep quiet any longer: it was as if a war, a gulf, had opened up between us. And I told you, though I don't know if these were my words, that I love the Earth too, Father. It's my home and I love it. But a home you can never leave isn't a home at all, it's a prison, and you have always told me that man isn't made to stay in prison, he's made to escape from it and too bad if he risks getting killed escaping. ]]


- The Next Whole Earth Catalog
posted by Joe Beese at 8:57 AM on May 11, 2009


On our way to the cape flying T-38's in formation, stopping in Alabama for fuel

If he can get a T-38 to fly - in formation or not - well, I am impressed. Swim, fair enough. Fly - them's the Right Stuff.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:55 AM on May 11, 2009


I'm listening to the NASA TV broadcast, and the astronauts just went through their com check. I feel that immediacy is a proper use for Twitter, and other social media.

"T-20 minutes, and counting"
posted by In The Annex at 10:02 AM on May 11, 2009


NASA has a twitter stream also, and it's going through the caught down now. T-9 and holding as they discuss an ice issue.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:32 AM on May 11, 2009


NASA's Twitter stream also has some background info on the Ice Team.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:35 AM on May 11, 2009


According to NASA the shuttle just launched.

How 'bout some tweets now, Mike?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:04 AM on May 11, 2009


He's too busy checking out his Facebook page to Twitter.
posted by mazola at 11:08 AM on May 11, 2009


OMG! Just saw an alien spacecraft! #conspiracytheorybait
posted by bondcliff at 11:10 AM on May 11, 2009


Isn't he out of cell phone range at this point?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:15 AM on May 11, 2009


goddamn prima donna astronauts.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:01 PM on May 11, 2009


The twitter feed doesn't prevent anyone from writing a detailed, more "exciting" account later. Whether you find it boring or "not the tool for the job" depends what you want out of it. Personally, I find these details of his life unbelievably interesting. The tweet where "the adrenaline is starting to flow" gave me goosebumps because the details he's telling us are so real. There's no embellishment or retrospective exaggeration or cleaning up the details to make it a narrative. This is his life as he's living it and the dude is about to get shot into space!!! He's filling the pockets of his spacesuit with survival gear! They wake up and eat breakfast under a bright light to shift their schedules. Personally, I am much more interested in understanding what his day to day life is like than reading the polished version later. That doesn't mean the polished version isn't worthwhile or that it is somehow less interesting, and conversely the same is true about the Twitter feed.

Btw, I think that if you are following the Twitter feed in real time, rather than reading it all at once as you might have done when you came across this post today, it makes a HUGE difference.
posted by kms at 12:31 PM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is it gonna be personal twitter, "the stars don't flicker, space is cold, enormous. I miss trees and shadows", or scientific twitter, "the solution was to not rely on..."?

Scientific, but they'll all be like:
Astro_Mike: While floating in space I realized the solution to Fermat's theorem. I'd post it here but I don't have enough room to write it out.
posted by inigo2 at 1:10 PM on May 11, 2009


Proof. Proof to Fermat's theorem.
Damnit.
posted by inigo2 at 1:11 PM on May 11, 2009


Personally, I am much more interested in understanding what his day to day life is like

Me too. I just don't get much of that understanding from his tweets. Of course I get the omigodyouarethere immediacy - it's a thrill, no doubt. But as far as understanding the experience, which is what I love about reading what you call "polished" versions, Twitter gets a pretty big fail.
posted by mediareport at 2:06 PM on May 11, 2009


I'd have to disagree there. My understanding of the experience of being an astronaut has benefitted more from reading Massimino's twittering than any other account I've read. The mundane details like eating breakfast under a bright light or tailoring a flight suit or getting to eat dinner with the family in quarantine (which I still am curious about, is there a glass wall or something?) are what makes me understand what he is going through. If you're interested in the big picture of space exploration I can see why the twitter feed wouldn't cut it, but this is the kind of stuff that makes the experience of being an astronaut seem so much more real to me.
posted by kms at 3:37 PM on May 11, 2009


If you're interested in the big picture of space exploration I can see why the twitter feed wouldn't cut it

I'm interested in the small details, too. I just don't see that many of them in his twitter feed. I see lots of vagueness, but not much detail.
posted by mediareport at 7:02 PM on May 11, 2009


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