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Science on the International Space Station - Gateway to the Universe
February 20, 2013

Don Petit

On Wednesday Feb. 20, 150 of NASA's social media followers and their guests will have the unique opportunity to talk to three of the six crew members aboard the International Space Station, and speak with agency scientists and engineers about the ground-breaking research taking place daily on the orbiting laboratory, some 240 miles above Earth. The space station is the gateway to the rest of the universe, enabling important discoveries that benefit humanity and vastly increase our understanding of how humans can safely work, live and thrive in space for long periods. 

The day-long event will take place in two parts, with the morning at NASA Headquarters, 300 E St. SW in Washington. A portion of the morning will be broadcast on NASA TV from 10:00 a.m. to noon EST.

In the afternoon, NASA has partnered with the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum (@airandspace) so participants will take part in a special tour of the museum and have opportunities to interact with museum experts.

Participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Engage in a live chat with NASA astronauts Kevin Ford and Tom Marshburn, and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield, currently aboard the space station.
  • Speak with NASA astronaut Don Pettit, @Astro_Pettit, and agency scientists and engineers.
  • Tour the NASA Headquarters Space Operations Center with live views from the International Space Station.
  • Take part in a Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum tour showcasing American spaceflight history.
  • Learn about:
    • Current scientific experiments underway aboard the space station and new experiments planned to launch on the next SpaceX cargo resupply mission in March.
    • Commercial and educational research opportunities enabled by the station's microgravity environment.
    • How researchers study the effects of a weightless environment on the human body to help protect astronauts for long-duration spaceflight missions in the future.
    • How the space station is being used to test groundbreaking, new technologies that will help astronauts safely reach new deep space destinations, including an asteroid and eventually Mars.

Registration for the event will open from 9:00 a.m. EDT, Tuesday, Feb. 5 until 5:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, Feb. 7. NASA will randomly select 150 participants from the registrants. Additional applicants will be placed on a waiting list.

What is a NASA Social? 
A NASA Social is an informal meeting of people who use social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Participants at this event will be provided a unique in-person experience at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., which they are encouraged to share with others through their favorite social network. This event is a free event as part of Social Media Week, Washington, D.C..

How do I register?
Registration for the event will open from 9:00 a.m. EDT, Tuesday, Feb. 5 until 5:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, Feb. 7. NASA will randomly select 150 participants from the registrants. Additional applicants will be placed on a waiting list.

Registration is for one person (you) and one guest, and is non-transferrable. In the case of multiple entries for the same individual, only the first entry received will be considered. 

Do I need to have a social media account to register?
Yes. This event is designed for active social media users who follow NASA on Twitter (@NASA, @ISS_Research, @NASASocial), Facebook (NASA, International Space Station) or Google+ (NASA) . The goal of NASA Social is to allow people who regularly interact with each other via social networks to meet in person and discuss space exploration.

Users on all social networks are encouraged to use the hashtag #NASASocial. Updates and information about the event will be shared on Twitter via @NASA and @NASASocial and via posts to Facebook and Google+.

If you are not a regular user of social media and just want to visit NASA, learn more at http://www.visitnasa.com/. For more information on space-related destinations in the Washington, D.C. area, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/spacemaps/NASA_space_map.html.

What are the registration requirements?
Registration indicates your intent to travel to NASA Headquarters in Washington and attend the event in person. You are responsible for your own expenses for travel, accommodation, food and other amenities. 

To be admitted, you will need to show a government-issued photo identification (driver's license or passport) that matches the name provided on the registration. Those without proper identification cannot be admitted. Registrants must be at least 18 years old; however, their guests do not need to be 18 or older. 

Can I register if I am not a U.S. citizen?
Yes, most non-U.S. citizens may register to attend the NASA Social. 

Does my registration include a guest?
Yes. Each registration provides a place for one person (you) and one guest. We recommend your guest be at least 5 years old to appreciate the event. Registration is for you and that guest and is non-transferrable. Each guest must be accompanied by a registered participant over the age of 18 years.

What if I cannot come to Washington, D.C.?
If you cannot come to NASA Headquarters to attend in person, you do not need to register for the NASA Social. However, you can still plan to follow along with the event on Twitter via the hashtag #NASASocial.

If you cannot make this NASA Social, don't despair; NASA is planning others in the near future at various locations. Check back on http://www.nasa.gov/social for updates.

When will I know if I am on the guest list?
After registrations have been received and processed, an email with confirmation information and additional instructions will be sent to those selected and those on the waitlist. We expect to send notifications by Tues., Feb. 12, 2013.

Does registration for and/or attendance at the NASA Social qualify me for media accreditation?
Your NASA Social registration and/or attendance does not qualify you for news media credentials at NASA, now or in the future.


Have a question not answered here? Need more information? Help is available by sending an email to HQ-Social@mail.nasa.gov.

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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: Jason Townsend