Tim Peake – Out of This World!

4453909521_fd1ee53b89_b“If you want to become an astronaut, you can become an astronaut by being an engineer, a doctor, a scientist, a school teacher or an army pilot like myself. Focus on what you are good at and what you enjoy. By tying those things together you will find your path.” Major Tim Peake

When Major Tim Peake was confirmed as the first British astronaut to be admitted onto the European Space Station programme no one could imagine the amount of positive publicity and interest his appointment would go on to generate.

Although his achievements as the first Briton to visit the International Space Station, his 186 day scientific mission and his 20 minute spacewalk are all remarkable in themselves, arguably it is Tim’s radiant character and his ability to connect with people of all ages, race, creed and religion which have helped him make such a massive impact all across the world.

But crucially it is undoubtedly the all-encompassing reach of social media, which Tim has wholeheartedly embraced and exploited – even from space – which has been instrumental in him reaching so many people on a personal level right across the globe.

In order to communicate all aspects of his mission in real time and directly to his followers on Earth, Tim set up dedicated Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. His Twitter account alone has almost 800,000 followers.

 

Inspiring the next generation

Through social media he was able to share photos and videos of a world that practically none of his followers will ever experience, and to engage in a dialogue with children all around the world, as he conducted more than 250 scientific experiments aboard the International Space Station. It is estimated that around a million schoolchildren took part in the 30 educational projects that Tim led during his mission, and his hopes are that this will encourage more people to get involved in studying science in the future.

Just before his trip he declared, “After a gap of 24 years since Helen Sharman flew to the Mir space station, the Union Jack flag is going to be flown and worn in space once again, what that means is that there’s nothing to stop the schoolkids in Great Britain today from being amongst the first men and women to set foot on Mars in the future.”

During his first press conference upon returning to Earth someone asked Tim what his message would be to the children of the UK. He said, “I think the message to take away is that you’re looking at a boy who went to Westbourne Primary School who left school at the age of 19 with three below average A-levels and I’ve just got back from a six-month mission to space.

“My message to them is: ‘Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything’.”

 

Our beautiful planet

Whilst he was on board the ISS, Tim took some amazing pictures of the Earth and space.  He commented on the beauty of the Earth as seen from afar – a beauty that belies the wars, conflict, poverty, famine and other man made humanitarian atrocities all too evident from our planets’ surface.

This was not lost on one particular comment posted to his Youtube channel:

“Major Tim Peake, you and your triumphant mission are shining beacons of hope in 2016 – a year that has otherwise so far been crammed with an almost unrelenting sequence of depressing world events.

Long may you continue to inspire and educate.”

 

Back down to Earth

It is interesting to note that Major Tim Peake, by harnessing and capitalising on the power of social media from space, was able to achieve such a phenomenal connection with others. The power to inspire, educate and bring people together through a common shared humanitarian interest.

Back here on Earth one wonders whether he could achieve the same impact through his continuing use of social media and his connection with a new generation of space cadets!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: In Focus, Uncategorized

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