Is there a cooler person in the solar system than Scott Kelly? The veteran NASA astronaut is currently orbiting the Earth aboard the International Space Station, where he’s living for a full year (Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko is joining him). They’re scheduled to return to Earth in the spring of 2016.
In addition to doing important research, Kelly is a social media machine. He regularly posts his own incredible photos to Instagram and fields questions from fans on Twitter. On Aug. 1, Kelly was hosting a Q&A session when he received a question from one particularly notable space fan:
And then, making things even more amazing, Buzz Aldrin—the second man to walk on the moon, now 85-years-old—chimed in.
As we’ve documented, NASA has the most pervasive and engaging internet presence of any government agency in the world. And its hugely successful online identity is boosted in no small part by the social media prowess of astronauts like Kelly. The only US government entity that has close to the number of social media followers as NASA (11.6 million on Twitter) is US president Barack Obama’s White House (6.7 million). So it shouldn’t be surprising that the two have become chummy on Twitter.
But this was not the first time Kelly and Obama interacted. At his State of the Union speech in January, Obama wished Kelly luck on his yearlong journey in space. “Make sure to Instagram it,” the president said.
And “Instagram it” he did. Since launching into space in March, Kelly has posted hundreds of photos ranging from glimpses of everyday life aboard the ISS to mesmerizing photos of the Earth and some of its greatest cities.
Here’s one he made Aug. 2 of the silhouette of the ISS in transit across the moon:
Aside from Obama’s question, Kelly’s Q&A session yielded some really interesting answers, like how he’s worn the same pair of pants for a month. Go to Kelly’s Twitter page to read them all.
Image by NASA Johnson on Flickr, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.