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NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg took Pinterest where it’s never gone before

One smaller step for Pinterest, one giant leap for craftdom-kind.


Lisa Granshaw


Posted on Dec 23, 2013   Updated on May 31, 2021, 11:12 pm CDT

NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg may be back on Earth, but her time on the International Space Station (ISS) will never be forgotten—partly thanks to the Pinterest account she kept while living in space.

When Nyberg was first asked in May about whether she’d follow in the footsteps of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who became well-known tweeting from space, she piqued the interests of many by mentioning her use of Pinterest. While Instagram, Twitter, and Google+ have all been popular among intergalactic travelers, Pinterest remained untouched—until Nyberg arrived and pinned plenty of updates revealing the daily life of an ISS astronaut.

“I was honestly hoping to draw in a group of people and share my excitement of space with people who maybe hadn’t thought about it before,” Nyberg tells the Daily Dot.

She’d been a Pinterest user for a couple of years before her time on the space station put her profile in the spotlight. Like most pinners, Nyberg likes the collection visuals, the easy search function, and that oh-so-popular infinite scroll and the plethora of ideas it reveals—all of this making it an ideal way to show those of us stuck at the ground her amazing view of the world… literally.


“When in space I was mostly pinning my own pictures. It was neat to see the comments and see that people were noticing them and interested in them. It was definitely a good feeling to get that positive feedback from folks,” she said.

Some of Nyberg’s photos received hundreds of re-pins from enthusiastic and excited followers. Her very last pin from space received 30 comments praising her efforts.

“Thank you for allowing me to experience a little space travel through your photos—You have no idea how much it means!” wrote Pinterest user Christa Crews.

While giving us all plenty of universal landscapes to pine over, Nyberg also took the opportunity to continue pinning one of her (and the rest of Pinterest’s) favorite hobbies: crafting. She shared a photo of herself sewing in space, as well as her projects. Case in point, the dinosaur she created for her son out of fabric from Russian food containers. She also created a Texas flag for her husband made of cut up T-shirt pieces stitched to a Russian food container liner.

Nyberg’s Pinterest use may have set her apart from the rest of her social astronauts comrades, but she also turned to Twitter and NASA’s YouTube channels to share her crafting—and even details like how to take care of your hair while living in space. Clearly, Nyberg is on board the social media-ization of our world, and everything outside of it.

“Some [astronauts] don’t enjoy it as much and so some might not be interested in doing it as much as others, but it’s good to reach out and share. Share the view more than anything!” she said.

NASA has been one of the most capable federal agencies to attack the social Web. The NASA Social team is a many-bodied, vast structure within the organization connecting ordinary citizens to its intense, amazing journeys. Its recent Twitter contest giving applicants to chance to connect with Internet-famous astronaut Rick Mastracchio, the flight engineer for the next space-station mission.

But while it’s easy for you and me to send a tweet, or post a status update, the logistics of doing that from space are more complicated. Nyberg said it’s a multiple step process to pin or tweet from the space station; if she wanted to share an image, she first had to remove the camera card and go to a computer with a local area network on the space station to turn it into a jpeg. Then she’d email it from her NASA on-board email to a personal email account and go to another computer and log in remotely to an Earth computer for an Internet connection. From there she could open the email, get the picture, and put it on her social media accounts.

Despite the challenge, Nyberg pinned and tweeted to keep her followers involved.

Will Nyberg inspire more astronauts to pin their explorations? That remains to be seen—but for now, she says her board will return to the stuff we’re all used to seeing circulate the network. You can expect to see some holiday decorating tips filling up her boards for a bit.

Photos via Karen Nyberg/Pinterest

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*First Published: Dec 23, 2013, 9:00 am CST