NASA To Host 'Tweetup' With Astronaut Ron Garan

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You will probably never go to outer space, so the next best thing is to get to know somebody who has been to outer space. That's essentially what NASA is offering Twitter users next month when it will host a Tweetup with astronaut Ron Garan on Valentine's Day.

In case you're unfamiliar with what exactly a Tweetup is, think of it as a real-time Q&A conducted through Twitter. NASA explains that their Tweetup "is an opportunity to meet and speak with Garan, the people behind NASA'S Twitter account and other space-exploration-minded participants." Garan posted the announcement earlier today to his Twitter account.

Looking forward 2 meeting everyone! RT @NASATweetup Come meet @Astro_Ron at the 1st #NASATweetup of 2012 on 2/14 1 hour ago via web · powered by @socialditto

If you're not following any astronauts on your Twitter account, you've been missing out on one of the best uses for Twitter. Frequently, when the astronauts are in orbit, they will post incredible pictures to their account while they are up in space. I recommend following at least a few of them because you will never have a more unfiltered glimpse of what Earth and outer space look like than what they've shared via Twitter. Here are a few that Garan shared with his followers:

Am I upside-down or is the Earth? Pic from our #STS135 spacewalk #NASA 93 days ago via Twitpic · powered by @socialditto

@Astro_Aggie is changing the way us earthlings view our planet. Great snap Mike! #ISS #NASA 105 days ago via Twitpic · powered by @socialditto

Sasha, @Astro_Satoshi @Astro_Aggie + I each in our crew quarters on the International Space Station (Nice digs!) 110 days ago via Twitpic · powered by @socialditto

How I spent my last day in #space That's me in the cupola off the coast of #Australia taking my last of >25K pics 114 days ago via Twitpic · powered by @socialditto

Today: Declared end of war in #Iraq Here's #Baghdad #FromSpace taken 8/12/11 by @Astro_Coastie #USIPIraq #ISS 33 days ago via Twitpic · powered by @socialditto

What a wonderful city! RT @PC0101 @Astro_Ron was here: #Vienna, at night, as seen #fromspace from aboard the #ISS 61 days ago via web · powered by @socialditto

We had a great view of the Moon as we descended to Earth in our Soyuz capsule #NASA 119 days ago via Twitpic · powered by @socialditto

If that wasn't enough to convince you to follow astronauts on social media - and I seriously question your ability to appreciate beauty if it wasn't - check out Garan's Google+ account where he has posted several stunning photos of the moon that he took from his time in orbit.

Back to the NASA Tweetup: check out the video on NASA Tweetups to hear about one lucky Tweeters experience in a past Tweetup (sorry, NASA's picky about who shares their videos and won't let others embed it, but go check it out anyways). One caveat, Twitterers: you must register on the Tweetup page and, even then, participants will be randomly selected from those who have signed up.