I spent the last hours of last weekend with an interesting group of people awaiting the launch of the Parker Solar Probe. This NASA Social Event invited around 25 people from all walks of life to one of the best places to launch, to hear from technicians and scientists who joined the mission and an unparalleled tour behind Kennedy's scenes. Experience Space Center.
One of the highlights for me was the people.
The group consisted of a former male band member now known for his Instagram account, a sci-fi writer, a civil engineer on the board of the Society of Women Engineers, painters, a firefighter, an app developer, a physics student, teachers, an aspiring launch photographer, a marketing consultant, amateur astronomers, a cast member of Disney World, an IT consultant, craft bloggers, cooking bloggers, a food blogger, several geekbloggers, a self-written digital nomad and a conference coordinator "where astrology and science reconveres. "
Teachers gathered ideas to share with their class, artists started sketching, the sci-fi writer filled a notebook with ideas for her next book and everyone shared their experiences on Twitter and Instagram.
NASA has been launching these award-winning social media events since 2009, looking for what the agency & # 39; social media influencers & # 39; calls.
Each participant shares a great interest in space exploration and has a unique audience on social media. They share the experience with their audience in live tweets, blogs and videos that give their own special twist.
The attendees received the most attention from the media during the briefing of the mission, as did the engineers and scientists from NASA as the teachers.
Tour stops for the group include the huge Vehicle Assembly building, the crawler transporter and the launch complex 37B. Each is being prepared for the first launch of the Space Launch System.
Many people present did not know that the field of heliophysics existed or the influence of the sun on the earth. They left not only with a better understanding, but also with Dr. Eugene Parker, the name giver of the Parker Solar Probe. Dr. Parker's theories about solar wind, the magnetic field of the sun and the corona were first questioned by his colleagues, but revolutionized the way science sees our star.
The complexity of launching a rocket was experienced by everyone. First at the 45th Weather Squadron at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, we learned about weather conditions that could keep a rocket on the ground. Later that evening the technical complexities slowed down first and canceled that start attempt with less than 2 minutes in the count.
The next day, the enormous Delta IV Heavy illuminated the early morning sky with Dr. Parker himself watching.