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10 out-of-this-world Twitter accounts
From the Mars Curiousity Rover to Tweets in Space, these Twitter accounts literally reach for the stars.
Maybe space isn’t that exciting after all.
Astronauts do the same things many of us do at weekends: clean their cribs. Except they’re doing it in space and tweeting about it.
@Aki_Hoshide and @Astro_Suni are aboard the International Space Station right now, making them among a select group of people to tweet from space. Here’s a look at some of the other notable Twitter accounts providing insights and observations from the outer limits.
Careful though, once you disappear down the wormhole, you might not surface for a long time.
1) NASA // 2,954,345 followers
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has a Twitter feed for just about every occasion, providing a steady stream of entertaining, informative, and authoritative tweets about the universe. @NASA is the hub, of course, but there’s also @NASASocial (the agency’s social media team), @NASAJPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, responsible for many unmanned missions), and the dozens of other active NASA-related accounts.
2) Mike Massimino // 1,254,571 followers
Massimino shared a few of posts while in orbit in 2009, but he actually sent them via email for a NASA employee to tweet, meaning it often took several hours for this 140-character thoughts to be beamed down. Technically, he’s the first man to tweet while in space. He’s still active on Twitter, though his most recent tweets have been focused on personal appearances.
3) Buzz Aldrin // 783,093 followers
If it’s at all true that the late Neil Armstrong would tell bad jokes about the Moon before claiming “Ah, I guess you had to be there,” Aldrin’s one of the few who’d really understand. Aldrin, of course, followed Armstrong’s small step to become the second man on the Moon. Forty-some years on, he’s making appearances on 30 Rock, telling followers to vote for his “buddy” Jay Leno for an award, and hanging out with his friend Jack White:
4) Mars Curiosity Rover // 1,169,369 followers
If Aldrin conquered one new frontier, the Mars Curiosity Rover is paving the way for humanity’s next. The marauding robot touched down on the Red Planet in August in search of signs of life, and has since found evidence of a dried stream. The tweets from the Rover’s Twitter account are frequently hilarious and include a recent check-in on Foursquare.
“I’m safely on the surface of Mars. GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!!”
“@britneyspears Hey Brit Brit. Mars is still looking good. Maybe someday an astronaut will bring me a gift, too. Drill bits crossed ;)”
5) Bobak Ferdowsi // 54,316 followers
There are many wonderful people responsible for landing the Mars Curiosity Rover, but few got the kind of attention Bobak Ferdowsi received. As the Internet watched a livestream of the JPL control room with bated breath during descent, the “Mohawk Guy” set hearts aflutter and picked up thousands of new Twitter followers. Now, judging from this photo, it seems Ferdowsi’s ready to appear in the Nerdist’s excellent All-Star Bowling YouTube series.
6) Ron Garan // 90,037 followers
Garan’s part of an exclusive club: He’s one of a very select few people to have been in space and tackle a live interview on Reddit. The 50-year-old’s been on two missions, in 2008 and 2011, spending over six months in space in total. He’s a founder of the Fragile Oasis project, which seeks to “inspire people to improve life on our planet” and highlight scientific achievements “accomplished on the International Space Station.”
7) Neil deGrasse Tyson // 719,537 followers
Tyson is edging close to Stephen Hawking in the “world-famous astrophysicist” stakes. The humble Tyson is a popular figure: He occasionally delves into Reddit and even has an oft-used meme to his name. He has the rare ability of making even mundane observations seem incredible.
“If you’re from NewJersey you can also say you’re from ‘Jersey’. But if you are from NewYork, nobody says you’re from ‘York’.”
“McDonalds triple-cheeseburger has only two cheese slices. Should be a double-cheese-triple-burger. (Slow day in the universe)”
8) Elon Musk // 91,132 followers
Musk has been compared to Tony Stark (Iron Man) as he helps build a better tomorrow. His company, SpaceX, is taking supplies to the ISS under a deal with NASA, with the first delivery set for Oct. 7. The PayPal and Tesla cofounder tweeted excitedly as the Dragon ship became the first commercial spacecraft to dock with the ISS in May. Here’s hoping for more of the same this time around.
9) Miles O’Brien // 24,837 followers
O’Brien is one of the world’s foremost space journalists. He was set to become the first reporter to visit the ISS before the Columbia shuttle disaster nixed those plans. His Twitter feed’s full of links to fascinating articles, photos, and videos, and he’s not above makes jokes about Marvin the Martian popping in front of the Mars Rover’s cameras.
10) Tweets in Space // 160 followers
Nathaniel Stern and Scott Kildall recently captured all tweets (around one per second) sent using the #tweetsinspace hashtag over a half-hour period. Within the next few weeks, they’ll be beaming those messages to a distant planet capable of supporting life. With GJ667Cc sitting some 22 light years away, it may be some time before extraterrestrials get those messages and call us back, but in the meantime, the account should provide project updates.
Photo of Bobak Ferdowsi via @tweetsoutloud/Twitter
Based in Montreal, Kris Holt has been writing about technology and web culture since 2010. He writes for Engadget and Tech News World, and his byline has also appeared in Paste, Salon, International Business Times, Mashable, and elsewhere.