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Dreams to tweet for

Ranz Adams is a self-described space geek. His 2-year-old son is even named Kirk, as in captain of Star Trek's USS Enterprise.

"I've seen over 100 (space) launches," the 41-year-old paramedic says in his Twitter profile, under the user name "medicranz." He's seen liftoffs from various vantage points, from the school yard to the Kennedy Space Center Causeway.

On Friday, thanks to a NASA-sponsored "Tweet-up," the Holiday resident got so close he could feel the ground shake as Juno Atlas V lifted off for a five-year mission to Jupiter.

"The rocket was so fast, it launched and lifted off the pad so quick, and 30 seconds later you could actually hear the sound and feel the ground shake a little bit from it," said Adams, who relayed his thoughts in 140 characters or less in real time for 135 followers on Twitter.

"AWESOME Launch of JUNO!" he tweeted and attached a photo of his fellow tweeps snapping away at the trail of smoke left by Juno.

"There's no words to really relay it," he said of the experience afterward.

Adams was among 150 NASA enthusiasts who spent two days getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the Kennedy Space Center and an opportunity to watch the launch from the press area.

Winners were chosen in a lottery system that drew about 1,200 online entries. Adams had entered the contest before but had never won a spot. Participants were required to be active Twitter users and expected to send real-time updates and photos. Winners covered their own transportation and expenses.

Adams didn't disappoint. He even posted photos of his NASA identification badge.

"Wish I could park here every morning!" he tweeted shortly before 9 a.m. at the special lot for NASA guests.

The group also toured the space center and got to hear from the son of astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Bill Nye the Science Guy, a scientist and comedian who now is executive director of the Planetary Society, an organization that counts astronomer Carl Sagan among its founders.

"OMG, I'm at the shuttle launch pad!!!" he posted on Thursday during the tour, which included a walk near the space shuttle Discovery.

"I got to see it sitting there within 20 feet," he said. "It was very cool."

Seeing Juno head off to explore the solar system's largest planet was unforgettable enough for Adams.

But another close encounter also proved thrilling.

After the launch, Adams looked around to see Bill Nye walk past him in the Tweetup tent.

"He said, 'I need help getting on the Wi-Fi. Anyone know the password?' I just happened to be right there."

Adams was only too happy to assist — and tell the world.

"I just helped @ The Science Guy set up Wi-Fi on his Macbook!" he tweeted.

He followed up with a photo of his ID badge.

"AUTOGRAPHED by @ The Science Guy. How cool is that?"

Adams said while sharing through Twitter was fun, he also wants to share it in an even more rewarding way.

"I do the Great American Teach-In," he said. "I'll share that."

About NASA Tweetups

A Tweetup is an informal meeting of people who use the social messaging medium Twitter. NASA Tweetups provide @NASA followers with the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at NASA facilities and events and speak with scientists, engineers, astronauts and managers.

More than 320,000 people follow NASA's main Twitter account, which shares real-time information on NASA news, activities and mission information.

NASA Tweetups range from two hours to two days in length and include a "meet and greet" session to allow participants to mingle with fellow Tweeps and the people behind NASA's Twitter feeds. Registration for NASA Tweetups will be announced, @NASA and @NASATweetup.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory held the first NASA Tweetup on Jan. 21, 2009. NASA Headquarters held its first Tweetup July 21, 2009. The most recent NASA Tweetups were at NASA's Kennedy Space Center for the launch of space shuttle Atlantis, at NASA's Johnson Space Center during the STS-132 mission, and at the World Science Festival in New York.

The next Tweetup is set for Sept. 7-8 at Kennedy Space Center. The Tweetup is expected to culminate in the launch of the twin lunar-bound GRAIL spacecraft aboard a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.


Dreams to tweet for 08/06/11 [Last modified: Saturday, August 6, 2011 1:06pm]
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