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In space, no one can hear you tweet.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson tells us “We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.”
Tyson’s quote speaks to the idea behind Friends in Space, a new Web app designed by Accurat. From your browser, you can say “hello” to Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti as she makes her way to the International Space Station. When Cristoforetti is orbiting through your part of earth, you press a yellow button to give a digital wave as she passes by. For a lucky few, she’ll respond.
Friends in Space
When I opened the app, Cristoforetti wasn’t in my orbit. But there’s still plenty to check out including live video from the ISS, Cristoforetti’s path through space, and some great visualizations of the journey. But I was here to connect; it’s not every day you get to hang out in space.
Because Friends in Space requires users to log in with a social profile of some sort—Twitter, Google+, or Facebook—it allows you to connect with people from all over the world. I figured I’d try to make the most of my time spent in the cosmos and reached out to some of my fellow faux astronauts. In the control panel of Friends In Space, you can see who else is hanging out. For people who connected to the app via Twitter account, there’s a “Tweet” button that lets you send off a quick message to people you’ve shared an orbit with.
That’s OK. She has a lot of followers, she probably has other non-space related stuff going on. It’s cool. I have 34 other friends in “space,” and counting. I’m like a space Zuckerberg!
You’re killing me, Chris.
Hanging out in space is amazing. It’s the coolest. Why isn’t anyone out here as excited as I am? I’m stuck, floating alone, shouting into the void.
Maybe it’s the message. The default tweet doesn’t convey enough enthusiasm. I have watched, by my count, several space movies and all of them require some on-the-fly, improvised ingenuity to make everything go. The ship is built nearly perfectly, but you gotta bang on something with a wrench or patch up some leaks with duct tape to get to work. I’m rolling with this metaphor, so it’s time to make some fixes.
That guy’s profile says he’s a social media manager but he can’t even manage a reply? I’m not saying he should be fired from his job but he definitely should be fired from space.
You know what it is? It’s a lack of urgency. Things get done when there’s a real sense of danger.
I feel like I would have had that one if I just followed that up with a link to “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” There’s no time for regrets in space, though.
To be fair, that person has a cat as their avatar so the more I want their attention, the less they’re going to give me. That’s on me, space cat. You keep doing you.
Admittedly, I ran out of space-related movie quotes sooner than I expected. But, whatever, it’s close enough and it still didn’t get a reply.
OH, A FREAKIN’ EGG WON’T EVEN RESPOND TO ME? HOW DOES AN EGG EVEN GET TO SPACE?
All of this was pretty defeating. It’s not every day you get to make friends while pretending to be hundreds of miles above Earth’s surface, but none of mine wanted to talk to me. Now I understand why Cristoforetti wanted to participate in Space With Friends and encourage people to say hi to her: Because space is super lonely.
Finally, I saw a notification pop up on Twitter. It was like hearing the crackle of the receiver after being stuck with radio silence for hours. I perked up, excited to see which of new friends responded. Maybe we could bond over our brief time in orbit or plan some other otherworldly adventures.
Space is the worst.
Photo via Sweetie187/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
AJ Dellinger is a seasoned technology writer whose work has appeared in Digital Trends, International Business Times, and Newsweek. In 2018, he joined Gizmodo as the nights and weekend editor.