The Irish Times’ SHANE HEGARTY shows us what Soichi Noguchi sees.
On Wednesday he posted a picture of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, its black tendrils looked eerily beautiful as it stretched through miles of ocean. It is a unique image, giving a sense of its scale previously unseen and with a touch of humanity that a satellite cannot. The picture looks as if it was taken by an interested photographer rather than a disinterested automaton.
What Noguchi does is to bring science and art together in a way that appeals to 250,000 people each day. He is one of the best things NASA has right now; up there at least with the rovers still toddling across Mars or the Voyager and Pioneer spacecrafts on lonely, perhaps eternal journeys into deep space. And if you want, you can talk to him and he may even talk back. If you need any proof of how wonderful modern technology can be, it’s that you can send a message to a man floating 400km above your head, and that he might reply with a holiday snap of your entire country.
He is not the only tweeting astronaut, but he is a reminder of just how awesome science can be. Not “awesome” in the modern way in which it is used merely as an everyday replacement for a nod, but “awesome” in a way that leaves your mind breathless from trying to appreciate the scale of it. And of how much fun it can be.
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