A mission specialist on the space shuttle Atlantis announced this week that he will use Twitter from space during the shuttle’s next mission in May.
If you’re wondering whether NASA has some kind of built-in tweet software on the space shuttle, well, it doesn’t. The agency’s engineers are going to have to figure out a way for the astronaut, Mike Massimino, to transmit his 140-character updates while out in the ether.
Massimino isn’t exactly a Twitter veteran; in fact, he’s only been using the microblogging service for two weeks, while he underwent training for his mission. After a few dozen tweets about physical conditioning, doctor’s visits, interviews and R&R, he had amassed over 110,000 followers. NASA, whose PR team conceived the idea to tweet the training, decided that the popularity of Massimino’s feed warranted part two–from space.
Massimino, who posts under the handle “Astro_Mike,” will tweet in between shifts operating the shuttle’s robotic arm, that will service the Hubble space telescope to extend its life through at least 2014. The mission will also implement new cameras and instrumentation on the shuttle itself, allowing it to see further ahead of its path. Should they point the craft towards Palo Alto, they might find Mark Zuckerberg’s NewsFeed dev team fuming green.