Social media in orbit: An astronaut’s stunning photos shared via Twitter

  , The Washington Post,  November 10/2014

NASA Astronaut Reid Wiseman captured this image from the International Space Station and posted it to social media on Sept. 28, 2014. He wrote: “The Milky Way steals the show from Sahara sands that make the Earth glow orange.” (AP Photo/NASA, Reid Wiseman)

 

After almost six month aboard the International Space Station (ISS), Maryland local Reid Wiseman landed safely in Kazakhstan last night. Wiseman built quite a social media following for his pictures from space.

 

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to spend 165 days up here. With that said, I’m looking forward to heading home,” Wiseman said on Saturday. Wiseman grew up in Cockeysville, Md., near Baltimore.

Throughout his journey, Wiseman gave a glimpse of life in space through his social media accounts. While not the first astronaut to share photos from space or connect with Earthlings with social media, he gained an almost cult-like following. In the month he first arrived on the ISS, Wiseman had 37,000 followers on Twitter. As of Monday, he had more than 360,000. Wiseman spoke about his social media presence with Time in July:

I think the astronauts have always wanted to share their journey with as many people as possible. And I think Apollo, with the tools they had, they did a phenomenal job. We’re just lucky to live in this day where, when I take a photograph with a camera … we can e-mail it straight into our Twitter feeds, and it just makes it so much easier to share this experience … It’s almost just become a little collateral duty of ours, so you don’t even think about it through the day, it’s so easy. But it’s appreciated and we really enjoy doing it.

What’s most remarkable about Wiseman is his keen eye — and childlike wonder.

“He’s struck a tone of constant awe and incredulity at his daily life on the space station that one wouldn’t expect from a highly trained and capable flight engineer,” wrote Mia Tramz of Time in July. What makes Wiseman’s social media presence so successful, she added, is its “reliability. ”He has found a way to create excitement around an expedition fraught with political tension using photography and video as a starting point for communication and for activating and engaging a wide, universal audience.”

Here’s a look at some of Wiseman’s photos from onboard the ISS: