Astronaut Uses Social Media to Bridge the Gap Between Space and Earth

Social platforms are making space photography more convenient than ever before

When you go on vacation or take a weekend excursion, you may have the urge to share that with your friends and family. But can you imagine how strong that pull would be if you were an astronaut?

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman is not the first to share space photos or post them on social media, but he is a prime example of how social platforms have given us all a more authentic look into space and what it’s like to be there.

In anticipation of his May 28 trip from Kazhakstan’s Baikonour Cosmodrome to the International Space Station, the Baltimore native and former naval aviator started to share photos and videos of his training rituals using Twitter and Vine. Then, as his journey commenced, he didn’t stop. Wiseman continued to share his life with the reliable consistency you’d expect from a social media veteran, not a seasoned flight engineer.

Wiseman has gone on to share everything from astronaut selfies to eagle-eye views of hurricanes, lightning storms and volcanos, but what has set him apart from his predecessors is how well he’s been able to engage his followers. There’s a genuine sense of awe and wonder in his tone. It’s a cross between childlike curiosity and deep gratitude for the opportunity to share his experiences with the world. He’s now surpassed 200k followers on the two services combined.

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Wiseman reflected on this recently, saying:

I think the astronauts have always wanted to share their journey with as many people as possible. And I think Apollo, with the tools they had, they did a phenomenal job. We’re just lucky to live in this day where, when I take a photograph with a camera… we can email it straight into our Twitter feeds, and it just makes it so much easier to share this experience… It’s almost just become a little collateral duty of ours, so you don’t even think about it through the day, it’s so easy. But it’s appreciated and we really enjoy doing it.

Although some of Wiseman’s efforts have been met with cynicism expected from a large audience, it’s encouraging to see this type of citizen journalism with an appreciation for the vast world outside of our daily grind. It’s the type of reporting you hope can help bring us together rather than drive us apart.

NASA Bio: Reid Wiseman
Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid) on Twitter
Reid Wiseman on Vine

[h/t] TIME

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