Tuesday, December 11, 2012

NASA Social with Astronaut Joe Acaba


Another day, another Tweetup! Of course, they're called "Socials" now, but some verbal habits die hard.  I say "social". I think "tweetup". Regardless, astronauts are always worth the travel trouble.  During a rare winter heat wave in the nation's capital and surrounded by fellow SpaceTweeps, I enjoyed meeting Astronaut Joe Acaba at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC.

Heather with Joe Acaba

LIVE on NASA television, Acaba showed a slideshow of his two missions (one on Space Shuttle Discovery and one on Soyuz) to the ISS, describing many of his adventures with his crewmates in his cumulative 138 days in space.

Joe was part of NEAP, or NASA's Educator Astronaut Program, having been a middle school and high school science teacher... also, a geologist, Peace Corps volunteer, and... well, I'd give you his entire resume, but it would break the internet.

Joe Acaba Tweet

Suffice to say, Joe is incredibly accomplished both on Earth and in orbit!  He is also the very first Puerto Rican astronaut to travel into space.  Among his many humorous anecdotes that we tweeted madly through the Spacetweep crowd, he cracked that many fellow Puerto Ricans had attended to hear him speak, but lamented that none had brought him any Puerto Rican food!

He is a very funny speaker, though only spent about 20 minutes describing his work. He spent the remaining TV time answering questions from the studio audience in English, then questions from the @NASA_ES twitter account in Spanish.

NASA astronaut Joe Acaba

He also speaks a bit of Russian, having spent most of his last mission with two Russian crew-mates. Multi-talented, and multi-lingual!

You can watch the show on NASA TV's YouTube Channel: Astronaut Joe Acaba Sits Down with Followers in DC at NASA Social.

Heather with Apollo 11 Capsule

I also managed to squeeze in a quick visit to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum to see the Apollo 11 Command Service Module "Columbia"!  Haven't seen this one since I was in grade school, but it never disappoints. Enjoyed many other wonderful artifacts there, including Sally Ride and John Glenn's suits, Moonwalk memories,

Click on any of the pictures above, or the link right here, to see the entire NASA HQ gallery over at Pillownaut Picasa!