This week’s blog post will be quite literally out of this world (cliché alert!) as it focuses on the social media campaign operated by Samantha Cristoforetti an Astronaut who belongs to the European Space agency, Samantha is currently based on the International Space Station and I’ve been extremely impressed with the social media campaign which she’s conducted whilst orbiting the Earth, in this post I’ll examine what has in my opinion been good about the campaign and why I think its been such a good campaign, I apologise for the cliché I couldn’t resist it 😉
Samantha Cristoforetti is an astronaut & engineer who works for the European Space Agency (ESA) she is also a qualified fighter pilot and captain with the Italian Air Force which she joined in 2001.Samantha is also a polyglot speaking French, English, Italian and Russian more on this later as it impacted on the campaign she delivered.
Engineers Log. Star date 2015!
What brought the Futura mission to my attention was the widely circulated images of Samantha in space wearing a Star trek uniform a la Captain Jane Hathaway from the USS Voyager this was an elegant choice of subject matter given the slightly geeky subject. Sorry Astro physicists and propulsion engineers your field of study is a bit geeky, now what sort of entertainment do geeks enjoy? Science fantasy or science fiction and for 40 years Star trek has been the flagship (no pun intended) of the TV science fiction genre that’s the genius of just this first element of the campaign the initial hook, more science fiction later, I’ll be honest I don’t pay much attention to the European space program before Samantha’s campaign I wasn’t even aware of its existence its not something the UK media generally pick up on
Returning to Science Fiction theme the 25th of May Towel Day was commemorated
… a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non hitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet-weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with. hitchikers guide to the Galaxy
We are very excited to present to you this Towel Day video recorded by astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti in space, on the ISS, and released while she’s still there. Douglas Adams’ work is read in countries all over the world, but now it has also been read IN SPACE! How cool is that?
Samantha has developed or fronted a thoughtful intelligent social media campaign which has made cutting edge science fun and given it a very human face, as I’m not a member of the ESA team, I’m having to extrapolate /guess some of the campaign goals but attracting women into science I could well imagine is a secondary goal of the campaign with raising the profile of ESA being the primary aim, both of these targets have ben quite comfortably achieved.
Multilingual & Multitalented
One of the recurrent themes in the Star Trek universe (I completely refuse to call it a franchise) is the benefit of international cooperation, ember it started at the height of the cold war! Samantha utilised her language skills and released videos & content in English, Russian & Italian given the international nature of the European Space Agency this is completely appropriate and I feel would be perfectly aligned with the late Gene Roddenberry’s vision. ESA state on their website that
ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.(source: ESA.int)