The space shuttle Endeavour launched today, beginning a 16-day mission that will see it heading to the International Space Station. In attendance was U.S. Reprsentative Gabrielle Giffords, whose husband Mark Kelly is commanding the mission.
For the event, Google partnered with NASA and PBS to set up a YouTube/Google Moderator-based interview with the crew, to be emceed by Miles O'Brien in 3 days, as discussed in the video above.
The questions are already pouring in. If you're unfamiliar with how Google Moderator works, you can submit questions and they will get either voted up or down by other users, and typically, the questions that rise to the top will be the ones asked.
http://goo.gl/2mjb (via @youtube)Time to submit your questions for the crew of the Endeavour space shuttle on its final mission
There are already plenty of questions pouring. So far, as of the time of this writing, 1,906 people have submitted 1,595 questions and cast 11,788 votes.
Google has also taken the opportunity to express its love for space exploration in other ways. "To mark the occasion, we put together this video to celebrate our love for space, told with the help of products we pour our hearts into every day," explains Google's Tiffany Montague, going by the title Intergalactic Federation King Almighty and Commander of the Universe. "You’ll see everything from historical sky maps featured in Google Earth, to 3D buildings at Kennedy Space Center, and our salute to both the astounding achievement of the Apollo era and the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a new space race of entrepreneurial leadership."
She also expresses the company's aspirations to continue moving beyond Earth in its quest for data dominance. "At Google, we’re never afraid to think big, and our mission to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful doesn't stop at our exosphere," she says. "The universe is full of information, and as we push the boundaries of exploration, our job will be to organize it and make it searchable."
Perhaps a better mission statement for Google would be to "organize the Universe's data and make it worldly accessible".
Another side note: Google's main campus is less than a mile away from the NASA Ames Research Center.
The Endeavour's launch lasted a reported 12 seconds.