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The Space Tweep Society European Branch

@SpaceTweepsIt’s been two years since the European Space Agency (ESA) first opened it’s doors to Space enthusiasts, and already the SpaceTweeps community has grown into a vibrant solid group in Europe, with new members joining everyday.  Inspired by some of the Society’s core U.S. members, who crossed the pond to attend the 1st SpaceTweetup on September 18, 2011 in Germany, the European SpaceTweeps have grabbed the torch and.. have been running ever since!

In the past two years, SpaceTweeps have been invited to more than ten Tweetups in Europe organised by numerous Space & Science Institutions such as ESA, DLR, CNES, OeWF, CERN, ISU etc., and they have spontaneously attended almost all major space related conferences and events on this planet, including the 2012 ISS Symposium in Berlin, Germany, SpaceFest V in Tucson, Arizona and the 64th International Astronautical Congress in Beijing, China. They have also  joined forces with scientists and space professionals in already organizing four SpaceUp un-conferences all over the continent.

While having tons of fun in the process, SpaceTweeps have been spreading their excitement and love for space exploration and scientific research to thousands of people, with their tweets, posts and blogs.  Happily, officials in Europe have not been shy in publicly acknowledging SpaceTweeps’ contribution to increasing outreach and public awareness of their activities on twitter or on their official websites.  ESA was even bold enough to host the second largest European SpaceUp in its Paris headquarters and to promote it on its official website.

The video below was produced, during last week’s ESA/DLR SocialSpace event, by Henning Krause of Helmholtz Association (CC-BY 3.0), who has been fascinated by the Society’s momentum and drive. Many claim that this says it all ;-)

SocialSpace interviews: The Space Tweeps Community

 

#LADEE #NASASocial 2013/09 5, 6

The LADEE social was a magical experience. This is us, Thursday, at the WFF Pad 0B with LADEE.

Space tweeps at Pad 0B

Space tweeps at Pad 0B @NASASocial

The Minotaur launch lit up Chicoteague Bay in a way that’s hard to describe. My visual post image (blind spot) lasted for a couple minutes. And then a few seconds later, the sound rushed over us like the mach boom from a flying Astrodome. Far beyond the sound of thunder.

After the launch, the NASA Social bus was humming with twitter like a twitter neural implant. Amazing.

NASA loves social media because it connects people with their science efforts in a way that’s more direct than conventional media. Charlie Bolden wants us all to know that we’re all a part of the NASA Team. I found this message to have far more force in person, than in video or print. In person it sinks in. It can wash over you like a flat spin. But that’s me.

The hard part about tweetups is matching names and faces and twitter handles in a day or two. If you’re twenty years old this is as natural as rain. But still not easy. Makes me think of a Space Tweep Face Book, but rather than write code I’ll just recommend Google plus. Tweeps on Google plus can share circles. A circle is a list of G+ people that can be used to select sharing and notifications, and can be used for privacy. Image tagging, though, is the thing. A G+ image has a URL, and the tagged image is the visual human – computer interface for matching names and faces and twitter handles and more. On G+ public sharing has ripples, a visual sharing graph, which can be seen for any shared post using the menu from the post’s top right corner.

The hard part about covering NASA is the volume of that space of information. It’s about 8.6 × 10^{38} cubic meters, or the volume of a sphere centered on the Sun and containing the orbit of Pluto.  In other words, it’s not possible to cover it all in any sense.  One approach is to get ahead of upcoming social events with topical material like this bit of homework.

To write that post I started from the LADEE pages and then found additional information using NSSDC and NTRS. NTRS has technical reports that reference science articles. I scan these pdfs for whatever I understand, and just try to remember the parts I do or don’t understand using the terms from each paper. This is enough to illuminate a subject roundly: to note the primary terms and some description of their meaning.

The search I use is a google expression like “ultraviolet visible ladee site:nasa.gov”. This covers everything, and knowing about the resource repositories just helps to sort the search results. The fun part is how useful and effective this work can be.

For me it’s interesting how twitter and g+ are complementary. The reader’s perspective in each of twitter, tweet deck, or g+ is unique in terms of information density. The diversity of topics available per pixel in twitter (tweet deck / columns) is far higher than in g+. The user experience in g+ is good for reading, unlike facebook which is exploiting visual human psychology for a less interesting business model. Google’s economy of scale is better for the user, and Google recognizes the relationship between “organizing the world’s information” and “public trust.”

Correction/ Update (10/10/2013): This writer appreciates this post as a personal one having no legal matter whatsoever to the persons and entities mentioned.  Specifically, when I wrote “Google recognizes” I had no objective or factual reason for saying so — but reached for the stars overhead to express an idea that is irrelevant to the legal world (at large) wherein the private sector entity commonly known as Google has no facility in the public sector.  I thought that was (in the neighborhood of) obvious, but I understand now that I crossed a line if misunderstood (misrepresented) to be a general statement in a larger world than the personal one that was intended.  This isn’t wikipedia, here.  Happy birthday, Peter.

LADEE, first flight to the moon from Wallops Flight Facility

Of course everyone reading this knows about the #NASASocial event for the launch of the LADEE mission to Lunar orbit happening this week on Thursday (9/5) and Friday (9/6).  Follow NASASocial/lists/ladee-launch-social plus @NASA_Wallops, @NASALADEE, @NASAAmes, @NASAGoddard, and also @LRO_NASA for updates.

A nice piece of Wallops history was raised by @TeresaR_WV: “Explorer 9 was the first spacecraft placed in orbit by an all-solid rocket and the first spacecraft successfully launched into orbit from Wallops Island.” (1961, NSSDC).

The LADEE social will be covering a huge range of subjects, including the following.

The LADEE mission will be collecting data on the Lunar Exosphere, specifically tightening the boundaries on gas and dust types and quantities found at altitudes under 50 km so that future work can develop an understanding of the surface boundary exospheric processes that occur on inert rocky bodies like the Moon and Mercury. And the LADEE mission will be flight qualifying the LLCD free space optical communications link. Data collection in the Lunar Exosphere will employ three instruments.

The Neutral Mass Spectrometer (NMS) determines captured (Lunar Exosphere) gas particle types (element) using a kind of electromagnetic filter called an RF Quadrupole or Quadrupole mass analyzer, or Mass Spectrometer. Instruments very similar to this one have flown on many deep space missions including CASSINI. In determining gas types with fairly high frequency (many per second), gas quantity and distribution can be determined over time.

The Ultraviolet – Visible Spectrometer (UVS) will determine observed (Lunar Exosphere) gas types by the characteristic electromagnetic emission spectra of gas particles impacted by solar radiation. It is also capable of a few additional modes (that I haven’t groked yet) that provide information about gas and dust processes in the exosphere.

The Lunar Dust Experiment (LDEX) captures larger “dust” particles to determine composition and distribution over time, not entirely unlike the NMS. Also not entirely unlike the NMS, it employs an electromagnetic process to do so.

The NMS and LDEX are forward facing, while the UVS is rearward facing, in LADEE’s direction of flight. That is, LADEE flies sideways relative to its Lunar Capture rocket engine which it points out of the way otherwise.

The NASA TV broadcast schedule includes events on Thursday and Friday.

September 5, Thursday

10 -11:30 a.m. – NASA Social for LADEE Mission Live from the Wallops Flight Facility – HQ/WFF (Education Channel)


3 p.m. – LADEE Prelaunch Mission Briefing – HQ/WFF (All Channels)

4 p.m. – LADEE Mission Science and Technology Demonstration Briefing – HQ/WFF (All Channels)

September 6, Friday

6-10 a.m. –Live Interviews on the LADEE Mission – HQ/WFF (All Channels)

4-6 p.m. – Live Interviews on LADEE Mission – HQ/WFF (All Channels)

9:30 p.m. – Live Launch Coverage and Commentary on LADEE Mission – HQ/GSFC/WFF (Public and Media Channels)

9:30 p.m. – Simulcast of NASA EDGE Live Webcast of LADEE Mission and Launch – LARC/HQ/WFF (Education Channel)

September 7, Saturday

2 a.m. – LADEE Post Launch News Conference –HQ/WFF (All Channels)

The LADEE Mission Pages have info for viewing the launch from the US East Coast, and most importantly how to get involved in citizen science!

The future of space outreach

NASA announced yesterday that it would suspend all public outreach and education efforts per immediately, as an effect of the sequestration measures of the US government. The original internal NASA memo that was published by our friends at SpaceRef caused an immediate outburst of disbelief and disappointment on all (non-NASA) social media channels. Although the message is clearly not a hoax, it needs to be seen what the actual effect of this message will be to future NASA events and communication, but it sounds severe enough. The spacetweep community will definitely notice.

Immediately after this announcement several discussions about the future of space outreach arose on blogs, Twitter and Facebook. Most focused on whether or not this could be true, but all soon realized it is. Some then started to focus on the implications and possible solutions. How can the space enthusiast community jump in? How will this shift the focus to other countries? And what should the outreach message be anyway? Listen in to a rather philosophical conversation I had with my UK space outreach friend Amjad Zaidi on Facebook: (more…)

Hey Space Tweeps! Please tag yourself in this Google-map by @reubenmetcalfe

Hey everyone – thought this would be a useful tool to help connect international Space-peeps on a local level:

Click here to view the map – feel free to tag where you live/work, and any other space-related organizations you think are important

Hope you’re all having an awesome day!

Reuben

View Space tweeps – Tag your location! in a larger map

Spacetweeps in the Arctic: Join #AuroraTweetup

One of the greatest benefits of being part of the #spacetweeps community are the great events that are organized. These events are the best way to turn a space passion into a true space ambassadorship and many new friends. When joining my first #NASATweetup in 2011 the other attendees told me it would change my life, which I politely laughed away. But wow, were they right! So after #NASATweetup followed ESA/DLR #SpaceTweetup, #CNESTweetup, #AndreTweetup, #SpaceKoelsch 1-3 and a few #SpaceUps. It is great to be in the heart of the best virtual and real life community in the world! (more…)

SpaceUp Poland is coming!

#SpaceUp events are doing great in Europe. After @SpaceUpEU and @SpaceUpStuttgart it is time for Warsaw to be the host of @SpaceUpPL!

Expression #SpaceUp rings a bell for more and more people around the world. An “unconference” with the possibility to share your ideas with other “space freaks” sounds like heaven for many human beings for whom “the sky is no limit”. Shorter, longer presentations, talks, films, discussion panels, workshops and more discussion in-between create the unique atmosphere of this event and reveal more and more space enthusiasts across the globe.

Such an atmosphere was also present on the #SpaceUpEU event in Belgium this September. Open and friendly people with huge knowledge and their fascination to the space were amazing and extremely inspiring. This impression, connected with the fact that Poland soon becomes a 20­th member of European Space Agency encouraged us to think about organisation of @SpaceUpPL event.

So here we would like to invite everyone to come to Warsaw and help Poland and its space enthusiasts to make first steps into international space society. Join us during SpaceUp and share with everyone your experience, interests and thoughts. Make a discussion about future space exploration, find out what other participants can offer you à listen, actively participate in different SpaceUp sessions and talk, talk, talk with everyone around! Everything is about sharing – so help us to share and spread space-spirit around Poland!

SpaceUp PL is a great opportunity not only to meet enthusiastic and ready to join ESA group but also to visit the capital city of Poland and fall in love with it ;)

We’re looking forward meeting you in Poland ;)

Your @SpaceUpPL Team – @imperator_jarek, @llirael, @liwyj, @cissidy.

More information:

Website: http://spaceup.org/near-you/poland/

Registration: https://newspace.wufoo.eu/forms/spaceup-poland/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SpaceUpPoland

A space organization mobile magazine created with Google Currents

A space organization mobile magazine created with Google Currents
The Associazione ISAA mobile magazine on Google Currents for Android on a Nexus S phone

The Associazione ISAA mobile magazine on Google Currents for Android on a Nexus S phone

I am a board member of ISAA, the Italian Space and Astronautics Association, which is a typical volunteer-run space enthusiast organization. We do a range of information, outreach and education activities including a space news portal, a podcast, events, and experimental projects such as high altitude balloon launches. Our content and updates on these activities are spread among a dozen ordinary web sites and online resources like video channels and photo albums.

Space enthusiasts often consume online content with smartphones and tablets. The use of mobile devices is actually growing so fast that in a few years they will outgrow traditional PCs and laptops. If you are a space tweep, I guess you are already well aware of this trend.

There are good apps for consuming online news in a mobile friendly way. The most popular are Flipboard, Zite and Pulse News. They repackage news feeds in an elegant, magazine-like layout. Google Currents is the latest such app and is probably not as widely used as the others, but it may be the most versatile and promising for online publishers.

Currents provides a powerful mobile content aggregation, layout management and publishing environment called Producer. Unlike the more limited, single feed oriented content access features of other newsreaders, Producer lets you group different RSS and social feeds into a unified magazine-like mobile experience. Anybody with a Google account can freely use Producer to create publications (editions in Currents lingo), not just selected media partners. Readers can subscribe to free editions and read them with the Currents app available for Android and iOS, for both tablets and smartphones.

With the help of other ISAA members I put together Associazione ISAA, a Currents edition aggregating most of our online content. Each magazine section collects and displays content from a single RSS blog feed, social feed, YouTube video channel, Flickr photo set or other sources. Like magazines, readers can browse sections and articles or access a table of contents.

A section of Associazione ISAA on Google Currents for Android on a Nexus S phone in landscape mode

A section of Associazione ISAA on Google Currents for Android on a Nexus S phone in landscape mode

If you manage different online space resources, creating and customizing a basic Currents edition is as simple as filling some forms or uploading images and media. Once an edition is in place, it updates automatically by pulling new content from feeds and other sources.

I encourage you to check our Associazione ISAA mobile magazine and see what is possible. It is in Italian but you can read it anyway thanks to another handy Currents feature, machine translation. To translate article text in you own language, tap the globe icon in the bottom toolbar of the Currents app. Translation quality ranges from barely acceptable to fairly accurate. This feature may open your content and activities to a wider audience, the international audience of space enthusiasts.

Have you created any space-related Currents editions?

#OV101toNYC Tweetup

Sign up now

New York area residents: We are about to get the coolest new neighbor to ever arrive in this area. I am, of course, talking about the prototype orbiter Enterprise, the vehicle that started the wonderful long-running Shuttle Transportation System program by proving you could actually glide back to the surface of the Earth in what’s lovingly dubbed a “flying brick”.

Last week I was lucky enough to be at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum to see Discovery (my favorite orbiter) arrive and Enterprise move out of the home where she has delighted visitors for many years. They are things of beauty beyond words, both of them, and I’m still marveling that one will be easily accessible right in the heart of the Hudson side of Manhattan.

In Virginia, NASA hosted a #NASASocial for that event but the incredible part was how many Space Tweeps showed up for what was dubbed the “Rogue Tweetup”. Approximately 200 tweeps (from what I can gather) joined in the celebrations and had a wonderful time meeting each other or seeing friends from previous tweetups, launches, and other gatherings.

The best part of the week, in my opinion, was not the day of the transfer of Discovery to the Smithsonian, but the day she flew over both her new home and the city of DC. Images of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft with her precious cargo over the Capitol, the Washington Monument, and other landmarks are stunning and oh, so poignant.

So, think about it: What’s the one backdrop even cooler than those landmarks? The New York City skyline!

As of now, the most accurate plans I’ve heard include flying up the Hudson River past our local landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and her future home on the Intrepid. With this in mind, tweetup ideas have been flying around and it’s time to make them official. As one tweep said, “You can either be in Manhattan and get New Jersey as the backdrop or you can be in New Jersey and get the skyline.” That made it obvious that the ideal location would be Pier A in Hoboken, easily reachable by PATH train from the city, is a major NJ Transit hub, and lacking in city tolls for anyone driving in from the suburbs and beyond (with big parking garages near the site).

The flight has been postponed several times already and is now planned for Friday, April 27th. The timing isn’t exact but I’ve been hearing it should be around 10 am – 1 pm, but Discovery was a half-hour early in DC, so I would plan to arrive between 9 and 9:30 to set up cameras and such. I will keep updating this page if things change again and with more plans as they are formed, so keep an eye on this or follow me or the hashtag #OV101toNYC on Twitter.

Let’s show this bird that New York is thrilled to have her! Sign up here so we can have a ballpark headcount and join the Facebook group if you want to discuss any further ideas. I’d like to do something to celebrate every stage of her arrival, so I will keep the group active until she is installed in her permanent home this fall, at least.

  • What: OV-101 Enterprise NYC Flyover Tweetup
  • When: Friday, April 27th at 9:30 AM
  • Where: Pier A Park in Hoboken, NJ
  • Sign up now

SXSW Panel: How to Win Friends and Influence Space Exploration

Yesterday at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival the Space Tweep Society was represented on one of the panels: How to Win Friends and Influence Space Exploration. Though I wasn’t able to be there, I could tell by the numerous positive tweets filling my stream that the panel was very well received.

Great job @harbingeralpha, @mrdoornbos, @absolutspacegrl, @chris_radcliff, and @Astro_Ron!

Here are a just a few of the tweets I found about and in response to the panel:

MarsTweetup: experience a Mars analog simulation in a cave

MarsTweetup: experience a Mars analog simulation in a cave

Since Nasa started organizing tweetups for space events I always had in mind to do a similiar thing in Austria. But I wasn’t sure if such an event could attrack tweeps to come to Austria. Then last year the first #spacetweetup was annoucend. A tweetup on European soil organized by DLR (German Aerospace Center) and ESA (European Space Agency), what unique opportunity for me. Of course I had to apply and luckily got in. This day was amazing (more articles on #spacetweetup) and after that day it was clear I want to organize a tweetup in Austria too and I was sure, my new friends will help me.

But what event could be attractive enough, so that people from Europe would like to travel too?
How about a Mars analog simulation, where a Mars spacesuit simulator is tested? How about a test site, which is situated at ca. 1,300 sealevel in a cave, in a region which is a world heritage site?

Sounds great :-)

And as I’m a volunteer at the Austrian Space Forum (@oewf), which is building the Mars analog spacesuit simulator Aouda.X, I conviced the OEWF board, that we have to do a tweetup during our Dachstein Mars Simulation and the idea of the #MarsTweetup was born.

Dachstein Giant Ice Cave

Inside the Giant Ice cave

Some context on the Dachstein Mars Simulation:
Between 27Apr – 01May2012, a five day Mars simulation, coordinated by the Austrian Space Forum, will take place at the Dachstein caves (Mammoth & Giant Ice cave) in Austria. The Dachstein region is located in southern Upper Austria near Hallstatt in Austria (47°28′32.5″N 13°36′23.2″E). The geology of the Dachstein massif is dominated by the so-called Dachstein-Kalk (“Dachstein limestone”), dating from Triassic times. In common with other karstic areas, the Dachstein is permeated by a rich cave system, including some of the largest caves in Austria. The Dachstein is also famous for its fossils, including megalodonts.

But why in the world, should we go into a cave for a Mars simulation?

Since serveral years we know that caves exist on Mars and that these caves are probably one of the hotspots for astrobiology on that planet. Caves are a natural shelter against the harsh environment on the surface of Mars and it’s only logical if humans once make a step on Mars, they probably will look into caves too. Therefore is necessary to investigate in operational issues related to (sub)surface operations in a Mars analog environment.

20 Twitter followers have the chance to be part of this unique Mars simulation. This kind of test has never been done before.  Not only the Aouda.X spacesuit simulator will be tested, also international partners will participate at the simulation. The Polish MarsSociety, will test their MAGMA2 rover, who won the University Rover Challenge in 2011, a team of the WISDOM rader (a rader experiment on ESA’s ExoMars rover) will also conduct experiments as well as the Part-Time Scientist (a Google Lunar X-Prize team who are building a lunar rover) and the Jet Propulsion Lab (remote science experiment).

Registration for #MarsTweetup is open until 8th March, 12:00 p.m. CET.

#MarsTweetup will be held on Saturday, 28th April 2011 (ca. 09:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m)

Read also: Official annoucement for #MarsTweetup