By James Robertson
It seems like something the crew of the International Space Station should have had by now–access to the World Wide Web. But now, after a software upgrade this week, the crew of the station can watch all the YouTube cat videos they want from miles above the Earth.
The first thing astronaut T.J. Creamer did to test the system was send a message over Twitter by himself:
I’m just a screen shot. See the real thing at http://twitter.com/Astro_TJ
In the olden days (by that I mean before this week), the astronauts had to email their tweets to someone at NASA who would then post them. While he doesn’t exactly get points for originality, kudos to Creamer for using his new-found Internet powers to reach out to those of us miles below him for questions.
The real first tweet from space was made by astronaut Mike Massimino on Shuttle mission STS-125 to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, according to CNN:
I’m just a screen shot. See the real thing at http://twitter.com/Astro_Mike
The crew of the station will have access to the Web while the station is using its high-speed Ku-band link. They will use a laptop on the station to access a remote desktop on the ground, which can be monitored by NASA. The astronauts are subject to the same computer rules as government employees, so there will be no, um, funny business on the station.
“The system will provide astronauts with direct private communications
to enhance their quality of life during long-duration missions by
helping to ease the isolation associated with life in a closed
environment,” NASA said in a statement.