NASA Hosts Hangout in Space

By Pierre Dumont , Feb 23, 2013 10:27 AM EST

On Friday Feb. 22 NASA held a live Google+ Hangout from the International Space Station.

The Hangout featured astronauts Kevin Ford, Tom Marshburn and Chris Hadfield, who answered questions from 10:30 am to 11:30 am ET. Questions included those pre-recorded and sent via YouTube along with live inquiries from social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Interested viewers were allowed to submit live questions on social media sites using the hashtag #askAstro.

"I don't think anybody tries to use technology to push back the edge of human experience more than we do," Hadfield said. "We try to improve our understanding as a species. We're leaving Earth. It's too good an experience not to share. With the technology we have, we can real-time communicate with just about anybody on Earth who has a computer or an iPhone."

Questions ranged from the eccentric (how a cat would handle zero gravity) to the more serious (what aspiring astronauts should study). Hadfield answered a question about Wednesday's communications failure and how the astronauts responded.

Communications collapsed for a brief time on Wednesday Feb. 20 while engineers were in the process of updating the ISS' command and control software. Contact between NASA and the ISS was lost for almost three hours.

"We trained for many, many years and we've been together as a crew for a while," Hadfield said. "We're ready for many things. We worked together as a crew following the procedures as to what to do. The people on the ground were scrambling and working hard.... It wasn't panic. We were working together as a team. It's just things that happen in space."

Google+ Hangout allows for face-to-face online chatting for up to 10 people, and thousands more can view the chats through Google+ or YouTube. Another high-profile Hangout was held just one week ago, when President Obama took questions regarding gun violence, math and science as well as computer programming classes in schools.

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