NASA MSL Tweetup: Day 1
I recently has the pleasure of joining 150 other twitter users at the tweetup for the launch of the Mars Science Laboratory named Curiosity. A lot happened so I am going to do several blogs breaking it down day by day.
NASA has hosted quite a few tweetups (I believe this was the 31st). Tweetups are gatherings of NASA’s twitter followers at a NASA center. Tweetups sometimes correspond to launches but have been held at other times as well. You always see a whole flurry to tweets from these events. The tweetup for the launch of Curiosity was held at the Kennedy Space Center for the launch. The launch was originally scheduled for November 25th which meant the tweetup would be on the 23rd, take the 24th off for Thanksgiving, and launch on the 25ht. A faulty battery pushed the launch to the 26th and the tweetup to the 25th. Therefore, when I arrived in Florida on the evening of the 22nd, I found myself with an extra free day. (Oh, there was a great dinner where all the tweeps met at Dixie Crossings on Tuesday night!)
The first thing I did was go to pick up my badge and swag. I knew they were giving us a free pass to the KSC Visitors Center that I planned to use Thursday, so I had to pick it up this morning. Met another tweep from Tucson at the hotel breakfast and drove over with her.
I spent the rest of the day exploring a couple of areas adjacent to the KSC. The Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge is immediately north of the KSC. This 140,000 acre refuge houses a wide variety of wildlife in marshlands and hammocks. Lots of great trails for hiking and observing wildlife. Note: bring bug repellant.
A great drive is Bio Lab Road. Bio Lab Road actually goes through Canaveral National Seashore and comes out in the Wildlife Preserve. This road is a great place for birding.
I also went to the National Sea Shore. I only went to the southern part near KSC (it is huge). The beaches are wonderful, but you occasionally come across things like telescopes used to watch launches.
Fr0m the very southern end of the sea shore is the best place to get a view of launch pad 39B. 39B was used for shuttle launches but is the first pad to be converted for the next generation of NASA rockets. The Ares 1-X test flight lifted off from 39B.
So you can see that even though there were not any formal tweetup activities that day, there was plenty to do! Stay tuned for day 2.
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