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Astronauts to host Google+ 'hangout'

Tom Marshburn, astronaut

Tom Marshburn is one of three astronauts who will chat with Earthbound fans via Google+. (NASA photo)

NASA, the agency that brought you the first ever tweet from space (2009) and a FourSquare check-in from Mars (2012), will host a Google+ Hangout live with the International Space Station on Feb. 22 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Eastern time.

The Hangout is viewable on the NASA Google+ Page or NASA's YouTube channel.

During the hangout, astronauts aboard the space station -- Kevin Ford, Chris Hadfield and Tom Marshburn -- will team with astronauts on the ground to answer video questions from Google+ and Twitter users who use the hashtag #askAstro, and Facebook friends who post in a thread that will open the morning of the event.

NASA's website explains that "unique and original questions" are more likely to be selected.

In addition, NASA will ask real-time questions submitted by followers on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

During the Hangout, astronauts will describe what life is like during their six-month stay to conduct science experiments and perform space station maintenance.

NASA is no stranger to combining social media, science and space.

Its Mars Curiosity rover - the famous mobile machine that checked into Mars on FourSquare -- has more than 1.2 million Twitter followers, and it is just one of more than 480 social media accounts NASA manages, according to the agency's deputy social media manager Jason Townsend.

In fact, the Curiosity rover is close to home compared to NASA's farthest reaching social media efforts. Almost 90,000 people follow the latest happenings of NASA's Voyager 1 & 2 spacecraft. Launched in the 1970s, they are the farthest manmade objects from Earth -- close to leaving our solar system at nearly 12 billion miles away.

Follow Marshburn and Hadfield on Twitter at: @AstroMarshburn and @Cmdr_Hadfield. Follow the Voyager space probes at  @NASAVoyager and @NASAVoyager2.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Feb 20, 2013 at 12:10 PM


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