7 women in space you need to follow on Twitter

15 Jul 2015

ESA astronaut Sam Cristoforetti aboard the International Space Station. Image via ESA/NASA

With the recent success of New Horizons’ Pluto flyby, you might want to continue following the latest news from seven of the biggest female space fanatics you’re likely to find on Twitter.

1. Amy Shira Teitel (@astVintageSpace)

There are plenty of science communicators out there who have captured the imagination of the public, like Neil deGrasse Tyson or Brian Cox, but whereas they have arguably dominated traditional methods, Amy Shira Teitel is a science communicator for the internet generation.

With her YouTube channel Vintage Space, she fills the public in on some of the history of mankind’s greatest space adventures.

Most recently, she found herself in the rather envious position of being embedded within NASA’s New Horizons team, getting to experience the everyday life of NASA’s top engineers.

2. Catherine ‘Cady’ Coleman (@Astro_Cady)

Cady Coleman began her career as an astronaut all the way back in 1992 when she was first selected as a candidate and she went on to make three trips into space: the first two being aboard space shuttle Columbia in 1995 and 1999 and then in 2010 she spent time aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as part of Expedition 26. When she wasn’t in space, she starred as the Astronaut Office’s chief of robotics, providing training for all of the ISS and shuttle crews. She also holds the enviable record of being the only person to have played the flute in space live on American radio and also brought flutes provided by The Chieftains outside of Earth.


3. Samantha ‘Sam’ Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha)

Between November 2014 and June 2015, Sam was effectively the European Space Agency’s (ESA) spokesperson on all its activities aboard the ISS, connecting the general public with what cool scientific experiments they were getting up to aboard the space station. Much like Chris Hadfield before her, Sam became something of a household name, giving insight into activities such as what it’s like to brew and drink a cup of coffee in space? Now back on terra firma, she quite rightly says in her Twitter bio that she’s “adjusting back to being an Earthling on our beautiful spaceship Earth.”

4. Nicole Gugliucci (@NoisyAstronomer)

Calling herself the ‘noisy astronomer’, Nicole first caught Siliconrepublic.com’s attention during the great Twitter event #GirlsWithToys, where she happily informed us she operates the largest radio telescope in the world.

When she’s not spying on different quadrants of the universe, she spends her time communicating with those of us here on Earth, hosting video discussions with other female astronomers and scientists.

She also spends her time going to classrooms and public talks to fill people in not just on space, but what it’s like to work with some of the coolest engineering projects around the globe.

5. Abigail Harrison (@AstronautAbby)

Can you remember what your career goals were when you were just five years old? Well, 18-year-old Abigail Harrison knew from that age that she wanted to be an astronaut just from staring at the night’s sky in her hometown of Minnesota. While most confine it to just being an unobtainable aspiration, Abigail has every intention of not just going down as the first female to walk on the surface of Mars, rather the first person. When not with her head down in college books, Abigail is also a major STEM advocate and has held Ted talks explaining her passion for space and science.


6. Katie Mack (@AstroKatie)

Australian theoretical astrophysicist Katie Mack might well have a crick in her neck given how often she spends her days looking at the starry skies above. While now a fully-fledged science communicator, much of her daily life is spent asking the eternal question: how did we get here? Not exactly in the sense of how life originated here on Earth, but rather how everything around us – the universe – came to be.


7. Dr Sarah Hörst (@PlanetDR)

If there’s a purple haze on a distant planet, Prof Sarah Horst will likely be keeping an eye on it. Currently an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, Horst is eagerly trying to improve our understanding of the formation and composition of planetary atmospheric hazes. While everyone is eager to see the photos that will come from the Pluto flyby, Dr Hörst’s interests will likely be a little more piqued by the findings over the next few days when New Horizons is going to be looking at its atmosphere.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic