I found out about this event through Twitter–I saw a tweet that announced the STS-127 crew was going to meet with the first 190 people that registered at a link they showed. I did, and I was accepted.
So, Cindy Bowers and I headed to downtown DC this last Thursday to NASA headquarters for the tweetup. It turns out that the previous mission had been the debut of an astronaut tweeting from space. Astro-Mike is actually Mike Massimino, and has helped pioneer NASA’s efforts to connect with more of the public through social media like Twitter.
This particular mission was also interesting to me, because we saw the ISS go over in July at the Woodlake Skywatch, when this shuttle crew was aboard. We had about 150 people that night, and the pass put on a really good show. It was also the largest crew that had ever been aboard the ISS–13 people.
The crew described their mission, with accompanying video, while live on the NASA TV channel, and then had a Q/A session. I was also able to get a picture with the MD on the crew, Tom Marshburn.
The audience was definitely full of geeks–most of them were texting and some had PC’s going while the show took place. But then again, I was only there because I’m quite a geek myself.
But, several people asked good questions, like the future of the space program, and the apathy of the public towards space exploration. I also made sure I told the crew I had seen them fly over at a star party.
We got a pretty nice goody bag–a stereoscopic viewer, moon puzzle, X-15 poster, picture of the crew, etc. We got to go up and talk with the crew afterward. And I got a couple of autographs.
This was a very nice program, and I was fascinated, as usual, by being in the presence of real astronauts. One of them, David Wolf, has been up 4 times.