Postcards from Earth

Sunset from a plane, returning from Peru

Postcard from Earth


I’ve always enjoyed the photos that astronauts have tweeted from space, and I’m especially enjoying Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli’s tweets because I’ve met him, talked to him about being in space, and now, there he is. It’s great to see him enjoying the experience of being on the International Space Station and I know that he’ll send us some great shots from up there. I know I’m not the only one who enjoys these photos from space.

This morning a tweet from Jo Brodie caught my eye. It simply said:

@NASA The astros have been sending us lovely photos of Earth from above, perhaps an opp for us to send them something from ground level..

What a brilliant idea. I’ve spoken to a few astronauts and I’ve heard a few of them say that although it is great seeing the world from an entirely different viewpoint, there are things that they miss about being on Earth. Perhaps we could help? Perhaps we could create our own little collection of pictures to send to them.

They wouldn’t have to all be fancy shots. I think mundane things like the cover of a local newspaper, fruit and veg at the supermarket, postboxes etc would work well. The sort of everyday things that you don’t get in space.And wouldn’t it be nice, if we could get some people on Earth thinking about what it is like to be in space? To realise that there are people up there, living on the space station? I think that spaceflight is inherently awesome and incredibly exciting, but people seem to take it somewhat for granted these days. If we could find a way to personalise it, to make it more real, then perhaps we could engage a whole new set of space enthusiasts? It’s just a thought..

I got thinking about how we could make this happen. First stop is a Flickr group, which I’ve just set up, second step is a blog post to let you know about the idea (ta-da!), and then perhaps we could run a competition and choose the best picture each week/month to send them a link to. (I told Paolo Nespoli that I would be his penfriend while he was in space, so I could include the links in my emails I guess.)

Maybe, just maybe, we could get NASA/ESA/JAXA/Roscosmos on board with the project and let the winners send a physical postcard up to the ISS on one of the missions or supply ships that is heading that way. Maybe SpaceX would take some up for us? What do you think?

It’s an ambitious idea, but not entirely impossible, so I reckon we should give it a go. If you’re up for sending postcards to space, help spread the word on Twitter and let’s start adding photos to the Flickr group. It would be nice if you wrote a postcard-like message in the details of the picture, and maybe link back to this post so that people understand what is going on and can join in too if they like.

Maybe the first set of ‘postcards’ could send them some Christmas greetings? Are you snowed in? Do you have a nice Christmas tree? What are your holiday traditions? Share them with the group – share them with space! :)

The Postcards from Earth Flickr group is here: Postcards from Earth – get cracking!

Follow me on Twitter as @SpaceKate


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5 Responses to “Postcards from Earth

  • Jo Brodiesays:

    December 22, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    ReplyAh that’s ace, thanks so much for putting this together :)I got the idea for earthly photos because I read the tweet from @NASA, retweeted by @ISSwave (we’re going to do a sort of global Mexican wave of spotting the International Space Station on one of its flyovers), about sending postcards to the astronauts. The four photos that NASA had chosen are very lovely, but one of them is OF the space station (seems a bit like my neighbours popping round to take a photo of my front door to use in their Christmas card to me!) and two others look like they were taken FROM the space station.

    Having never been off the planet even for a moment, I can’t pretend to know what astronauts might want to see having been off world for weeks or months. I know that if I’m in a foreign country for more than a week I’m mildly discomfited by everything being vaguely familiar but slightly different – the road signs are all wrong for one thing ;-)

    I thought it might be nice for NASA to select a few Earth-based shots of everyday mundanity (literally ‘worldly’) as well, and wondered if they might have a brief competition for people to get it all sorted out before Christmas. Your idea is MUCH better, thankfully :)

    There’s a passage in the Red Dwarf book where the crew find themselves back on Earth after a long time away. They’re on the London Underground and one of them tries to buy a chocolate bar from a platform vending machine – but the machine’s broken. For some reason this delights him. There’s a lot to be said for the familiar;)

    I like the idea of a little postcard payload!

  • December 24, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    ReplyLove this idea! Let us know how we can help promote it.
  • Don Mappsays:

    December 24, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    ReplyGreat idea. Perhaps some of the pics of my garden on my website might bring them back to some sort of tera firma. Best of luck and all yultide greetings for the space frontiersmen of this era.
  • December 28, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    ReplyKate,an Excellent Idea, and I have already added to it.
    I will endeavor to capture the some of the more simple life from around Bedfordshire and add it to the group.

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