On Wednesday morning, in the otherwise silent darkness of space, Commander Chris Hadfield was by his computer aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
At about 11.40 a.m., he typed out a few words, attached a link, and hit the ‘Tweet’ button.
At that moment, The Hindu had its first article to be tweeted about from space.
The article, New light on ‘dark matter,’ by our correspondent R. Ramachandran, concerned results from a powerful detector called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS).
From onboard the ISS, it tracks very high energy particles originating from mysterious sources, zipping through space.
One such source is the invisible dark matter, scientists think, an enigmatic substance that is thought to make up 84.5 per cent of the mass of the universe but hasn’t yet been directly detected.
On April 3, an overdose of anti-electrons received at the AMS prompted speculation that the instrument may have made the first direct detection of dark matter.
To use words from the first Canadian commander of the ISS’s tweet, the AMS is “1 of the more interesting experiments on ISS.”
By Wednesday night, it had been re-tweeted more than 200 times and favourited by almost just as many on the social networking site. For us: It is heartening to know that we have many readers not just on Earth but also one orbiting it, between 330 and 440 km away...