Friends In Space: The first-ever social network for tracking and communicating with an astronaut

Over the last few months, the International Space Station has evolved as an interesting platform for social media interactions and discussions about Space. Be it Chris Hadfield’s take on David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” that put Space on the YouTube spotlight or Alexander Gerst’s tweets on board the ISS that made #BlueDot, a trending twitter hashtag for space geeks. The International Space Station had played a key role, The Friends in Space app will showcase social networking for space geeks that extends beyond the Earth, to, you guessed it right, the International Space Station.

Friends in Space is the first ever social network for tracking and communicating with an astronaut! The application is part social networking and part space geek paradise!

Friends in Space: A Social Networking site for the Space geeks in us!

Friends in Space is a web browser application that lets you interact with Italy’s first female astronaut on board the International Space Station (ISS), Samantha Cristoforetti (“Sam”) who also happens to be an Alumna of TU München. Yes, I do agree I am bragging about my university connection with an Astronaut currently on-board the ISS but can you really blame me 😉

Friends in Space application was developed by Accurat, a data visualization company that basically worked on the Friends in Space app in their free time because they believe “Space + Data = Awesome”.

friendsinspace

So what can you do with Friends in Space?

The homepage of the Web App is your real-time window to see what Sam is doing, which part of the earth she is currently flying over and who else is “out in space” with you and her. The App will showcase footage covering Sam’s activities during her time on board the International Space Station (ISS).

You can log in to communicate with Sam when she’s in orbit above your location and interact with other space geeks who are also trying to communicate with her from around the world or you can simply browse the website and share your location to see yourself among the social networking stars along the orbit. Wondering in which language to tweet/send your message to Sam? Good thing she happens to know Italian, German, French, Russian and English! So get ready to say “Saluto, Hallo, Bonjour, привет and Hello” to Astro Sam!

In addition to messages, you can also check out how kilometers Sam has traveled since your message and how many orbits you were part of.

The Web app also serves as your ISS calendar widget, reminding you when the next ISS ground pass over your location would be!

It also has some cool and engaging information about orbit information and life on board the ISS. So go ahead and check out the Friends in Space web app, I am sure you’ll like it 🙂

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Lunar Mission One: Crowdfunding a Lunar mission through Kickstarter

Earlier today, a group of British scientists announced the launch of a KickStarter project “Lunar Mission One“, a £600,000 mission to Moon and in case you are wondering, they already crossed £195,000 for their ambitious Lunar mission (up from £177,209 which was like 30 minutes ago). On a side note, Mars One, the other crowd-funded space mission has collected USD 633,440 in total as of September 2014 (Reference: Mars One Website), but they have a total different revenue model.

lunarmissiongeoawesomness

Just few days ago, Humankind landed a probe on the surface of the comet 67P, some hundreds of millions of kilometers away from Earth. It is a feat that can only be described with the use of superlative adjectives and even then, it would be impossible to fully understand the impact it would have on Science; on our understanding of the universe and perhaps the most intriguing question of them all “Did comets seed life on Earth?”.

And today, we have a KickStarter campaign “Lunar Mission One” that is arguably the most ambitious crowd-funded project ever and it has already crossed £190,000! What a week it has been/is for Space exploration!

Lunar Mission One: Mission Overview

It is an unmanned mission to the South pole of the Moon. Polar regions of the Moon have not been unexplored by previous missions that will measure the local environmental conditions on and above the lunar surface, besides analyzing the composition of the Lunar dust. These are not the exciting scientific mission objectives. The mission includes a robotic landing module that will drill down to a depth of at least 20 meters, which is 10 times deeper than has ever been drilled before on the lunar surface. The drilling might potential go as deep as 100 meters!

By drilling this deep, we can analyze lunar rocks dating back up to 4.5 billion years, thereby helping us discover the geological composition of the Moon and help further the understanding of our solar system and the formation of our Blue dot (Earth) & the Moon. I must admit Geology never sounded more cool! Maybe they should call this Space geology 😉

Mission Timeline:

LunarMissionTimeline

The KickStarter “Goodies”

Of course, no KickStarter campaign is complete without “goodies” that makes everyone want to invest in the project. Lunar Mission One takes this to all new level or to be more precise to an all new depth on the lunar surface! By pledging £60 (or higher), you get to reserve a digital memory box that can contain whatever digital information you wish to bury deep inside the surface of the Moon! For £5000, you get to witness the lunar lander from the viewing gallery in the mission control room!

Lunar Mission One is the most inspirational lunar project since the Apollo landings and your chance to reserve your place in space.- KickStarter Lunar Mission One

Excited already? Get ready to reserve your place in Space! Here’s the KickStarter link

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