Saturday, March 7, 2015

Twitter: The Source for Space News

Yesterday, Dawn arrived for dwarf planet Ceres, and I'm not talking about sunrise. The Dawn spacecraft visited asteroid 4 Vesta in 2011, then made its way to Ceres, entering orbit yesterday. The planetary scientist in me cheers! I posted an article link on my Facebook page about the achievement and my husband commented that I am his only source of space news.

What are my sources of space news? Over the past few years, my main source has been Twitter. I have a personal Twitter account for the sole purpose of keeping up with industry news and a little bit of other news as well. I check it very frequently throughout the day daily. Live tweeting events and posting article links keeps me well informed. I follow over 100 accounts to accumulate a wide variety of sources.

My favorite publication for space news is, appropriately named, SpaceNews. So many talented and knowledgeable reporters contribute to the publication. My favorite space journalist for years has been their new hire: Jeff Foust. Jeff attends events so widely and publishes stories so frequently, I wonder when he rests. His writing style is also suburb: factual, thorough, free of bias, and well articulated. I almost always can identify his writing without reading the byline. His website TheSpaceReview is my regular Monday read, the now discontinued Space Politics was a must-read for me, and I smile when I see his latest work, The DOWNLiNK newsletter, in my inbox. I once made him blush at a conference when I confided that he was my favorite.

My favorite local space journalist is James Dean of Florida Today. In an age where newspapers cut staff to cut costs, James is an example of why it's so important to keep talented and experienced reporters on staff to have the background knowledge and connections to put stories in greater context and dig a little deeper. Other local space journalists do what they can, but if it's written by James, I know that it will be good work. He's also a pretty neat guy to chat with.

Marcia Smith of SpacePolicyOnline, Edward Ellegood of the FLORIDA SPACErePORT, Stephen Smith of the SpaceKSC blog, Doug Messier of Parabolic Arc, Dan Leone of SpaceNews, Mike Gruss of SpaceNews, Peter B. de Selding of SpaceNews, Phil Metzger of Florida Space Institute, and Alan Stern of his many hats are all great individual contributors to follow. SpaceFlight Now, SpaceRef, Spaceflight Insider, and Florida Today Space are great institutional accounts to follow.

Outside of Twitter, I try to keep up with the podcast series The Space Show by David Livingston and the associated Hotel Mars series by John Batchelor, although I'm about a month behind in the archives. When experts speak for an hour or two at a time, they often give information and opinions that they wouldn't otherwise give in an article or short speech. Recorded conference talks such as the People of NewSpace series by Alvin Remmers of Moonandback Media are similarly interesting.

I'm generally not a fan of long mass emails which I rarely read in their entirety, but I do scan over Mary Ann Liebert's New Space and Astrobiology published paper collections for any interesting titles.

No day is complete without NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day, which I've been enjoying since high school. I usually view the gorgeous images on my Facebook feed.

These are the highlights; these and many others contribute to my continuous space education. So long as I'm paying attention, I learn a great deal each day thanks to the hard work of others. I hope that some of these resources may be of interest to you. Where do you get your space news?


  1. I like to follow the discussion at I think Elon Musk is headed for the right goal and SpaceX is the epicenter of the action. That group includes many people who really are in the know.

    Now 69, I once stood atop a camping trailer on Cocoa Beach as witness to, by far, the most stunning man-made event of my life, the launch of Apollo 11. I have since seen the launch of a satellite at the Air Force Station there and a Shuttle launch. They were nice but just did not compare to what I saw that beautiful July day in 1969.

    I think Elon Musk has the vision, talent, and skills necessary to pull off the next true giant leap. I really hope to see him make it happen in my lifetime.

  2. Thanks! I'm unfamiliar with that Facebook group. I will check it out.

    I truly hope that SpaceX succeeds in all that they do as well!

  3. If you are also interested in some cool Lunar and other space-related things from the past, you might check out the truckload of good info at

    Personally, going back nearly 50 years, I was quite pleased to play a very small part in the Apollo project which is documented here: