It seems that almost everything is better when space is involved. For instance, Top Gun was a great movie. Set it in space, give the airplane a cool redesign, and turn the pilot into Harrison Ford, and all of a sudden you have Star Wars. As we all know, Google+ Hangouts are among the coolest features in Google+. The ability to instantly video chat with up to 10 people at once with little more than a browser plugin is awesome. So what about Google+ Hangouts in space?
Well, for a few people in Japan, public Google+ Hangouts in space became a reality. JAXA and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide started a public Google+ Hangout this last Thursday. The kicker? Akihiko “Aki” Hoshide is currently kicking it out at the International Space Station. So when people joined up to take part in the Hangout, they were talking to a man currently in space. That makes it the first ever public Hangout to be conducted from outside the Earth’s atmosphere.
There have been a few Hangouts conducted in space, but they were private conversations that were publicly broadcasted. In this hangout, random people could join in and talk to the cosmonaut live. It may not sound like that big of an achievement to some. After all, Google+ Hangouts in space has happened before. But even a year ago no one thought that astronauts would hold public video chats while they were actually in space. After all, astronauts have a lot of important, spacey things to do.
According to Google, the Google+ Hangout really was just people hanging out and asking questions. One memorable encounter mentioned was a 12 year old boy from Shiga prefecture that asked what Aki Hoshide would do if he were sent on a mission to make contact with extraterrestrial life. The conclusion of his response was, “I’d be careful not to offend them!” That’s a class act right there. Do keep in mind that this is also the first guy in history to record a voice cameo in space as he recorded himself for an episode of a popular Japanese anime called Space Brothers.
Will JAXA be doing more public Google+ Hangouts?
That’s a question for JAXA. There is no official word on whether or not this was a one time deal or this is something JAXA plans on doing again. However, it does set a fantastic precedent for other astronauts and space programs to help get the public more involved with space in general. It’s no longer just a pop culture thing. So congratulations to JAXA and Astronaut Hoshide for challenging the norms and finding ways to do fun things in space.
Google+ Hangouts is the just the latest in Google Technology to make it that high up. It very likely won’t be long until there’s a Google rocket launching people to Google’s space station or to Google’s colony on Mars. By then all space suits will include Google’s smartwatch, Google Glasses, and Google Smart Gloves. Who wouldn’t want to go on that trip? If you’d like to check out the full Google+ Hangout, just watch the video below: