I wonder how many of the 300 applicants have started a blog?
Perhaps not surprising when one of the application questions is:
It's certainly a valid question. Ever since the Mars Phoenix Mission became one of the most followed accounts on Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/marsphoenix) (note their following has decreased massively since the mission ended), the space industry has seen the potential of social media for education and public outreach.
Online ActivitiesList any websites, blogs, etc. to which you are a regular contributor. Describe your involvement and the relevance of your online activities to your qualifications for the analog study or to the work you propose to do during your analog experience. 500 word limit.
Analog simulations like HiSEAS have frequently used social media as a means of outreaching their mission. My favorite in recent memory was the #Mars500 mission. This 520 day mission locked 6 "astronauts" in a full duration simulated mission to Mars. Throughout their mission the crew and mission support updated Twitter accounts, blogs, video blogs, and more.
Diego Urbina, a fellow ISU alumni, was one of the most "connected" members of the crew, maintaining a Twitter feed, blog, and video diary.
His blog and video diary are still up on the ESA website: http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Mars500/SEM9AJGURTG_0.html
And I'd encourage you all to follow his personal twitter account where he posted his #Mars500 updates:
Maybe he has some good advice for our HiSEAS participants?
Mars500 was far from the first analog mission to use social media.
Individual crews at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) have long used blogs and twitter to outreach their activities to the general public. When I was an engineer at MDRS I tried to centralize all of their social media as previously crews would create their own "unique" accounts, losing the previous followers. The centralized accounts I created are still up, but have fallen into disrepair / disuse since I left MDRS:
Unfortunately the Facebook account appears to be the only social media currently in use by the station.
If selected, it is my goal to make HiSEAS the most connected analog yet, despite the time delay!