Never has liking a post on Tumblr or retweeting someone felt so profound. Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield, presently floating through space on the ISS as the flight engineer, has taken it upon himself to take jaw-dropping pictures of the Earth from space and then post those pictures on Tumblr.
There is an astronaut currently in space posting photos to Tumblr. From space. Because he’s an astronaut in space. On Tumblr. Here are just a few of his pictures so far:
Not feeling satisfied with wowing the world through stellar photography, Hadfield goes on to have a conversation over Twitter with the original Captain James T. Kirk.
@cmdr_hadfield Are you tweeting from space? MBB
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) January 3, 2013
@williamshatner Yes, Standard Orbit, Captain. And we’re detecting signs of life on the surface.
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) January 3, 2013
What’s truly remarkable about this level of correspondence between people living in space and those of us still tethered to the Earth isn’t the instantaneous nature of it, but the casualness with which it’s done. The same instrument that whiny kids can use to complain about not receiving the right color iPad as a gift is also used to send tweets back from those orbiting our planet. Tumblr, used for everything from obsessive fans of Sherlock and Doctor Who to social movement pushes, is being used by Hadfield to show us Earth in a way that few people have had the luxury of seeing it. And he’s doing all of this in real time, as it happens. This colliding of the real and surreal will hopefully serve to make the whole experience that much more sublime, no matter how commonplace it may become.