Social Media

Chatting with the astronauts


The crew of the International Space Station chat with Earthbound fans during a Google+ event.

Thousands of people from around the globe participated in an extraplanetary Google+ Hangout with three orbiting NASA astronauts on Feb. 22.

The astronauts aboard the International Space Station – Commander Kevin Ford and flight engineers Tom Marshburn and Chris Hadfield – took video questions from viewers tuning in on NASA’s Google+ page and YouTube channel, and fielded questions from the agency’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

NASA headquarters moderated the hangout, and astronauts on the ground pitched in with video answers, too.

Via YouTube, a school classroom of girls sent this question: “Is it different when you have girls up there?” Astronauts on the ground – including one woman – said definitively that space is better with women in it. And another answer might provoke envy from deskbound workers at other agencies; the orbiting astronauts said they work out for two hours per day to stave off muscle atrophy.

NASA is no stranger to combining social media, science and space. Its Mars Curiosity rover – which famously checked into Mars on FourSquare – has more than 1.2 million Twitter followers, and is just one of more than 480 social media accounts NASA manages, according to the agency’s deputy social media manager Jason Townsend.

Watch the full event below.

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