Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Space Station Sees Us!

I'm not a "tweeter." I've avoided Twitter because I'm too long-winded to be confined to just 140 characters. Those who do conform with this space limitation often resort to terrible grammar and spelling shortcuts, which I loathe. I'm also too security conscious to be clicking on mysterious URLs—shortening the address makes it harder to figure out exactly where it is going to take you. Besides, I already waste too much time on social media (I need to finish reading that 684 page Sargent Shriver biography!).

Thus, I don't “follow” the official Peace Corps Twitter account, and did not know that they tweeted a link to the my Space Station story that was published on their blog recently ( However, in an e-mail exchange yesterday, the woman at Peace Corps Headquarters who works on their blog told me this: “I'm excited to tell you that the International Space Station retweeted our tweet promoting your blog...”

Wow! That is big news to me. The International Space Station Twitter account was used for the first tweet from space back in 2009. I'm not positive that the six astronauts aboard the Space Station actually read my story, but at least someone in an official capacity at NASA felt it was worthy of a tweet from the orbiting station's account.

The official @Space_Station Twitter account has over 353,000 followers. When combined with the 662,000 people who follow the official @PeaceCorps account, that means that a million “twits” were notified about my story. Plus, other folks also retweeted it to their followers. Of course, not everyone bothered to read it, but it still boggles my mind!

Best of all, though, was the short but encouraging words that were used in the Space Station tweet (see both tweets in the picture below). In response to the Peace Corps talking about my kids watching them fly overhead for the first time, they replied “Awesome! Thanks for looking up!” [I bet it would have been even more inspirational if Twitter didn't limit you to only 140 characters!]

Of course, when I told the combined 2nd & 3rd grade class about this news today, some of them thought that it meant the astronauts had seen us looking up at them as they passed overhead. I had to explain yet again that while we could see the Space Station, they could not see the people gathered at dusk on the playground 250 miles below them. At least it got them thinking about the wonders of space!

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