Just noticed this interesting detail from the PBS NewsHour/YouTube/Google webcast earlier today, in which Miles O'Brien interviewed astronauts from the space shuttle and International Space Station about life in space -- while they were floating around in space. At one point, Miles asked astronaut Greg Johnson (pilot for the shuttle STS-134 mission) and Ron Garan (a current member of the International Space Station crew) a question posed by a YouTube viewer: "What kind of Internet connection do you get up there? Is it fast? Any restrictions, wink wink. What's the IP range of visits from outer space?"
GREG JOHNSON: Good question, DJ. As shuttle guys, we really don't partake in the Internet. We've got synchronizations with our emails. It kind of gives us a pseudo-email or pseudo-Internet to communicate with our families and friends and our associates. However, I'm going to pass this to Ronnie because on the station, I believe that they have a better Internet than we do on the shuttle.
RON GARAN: So this is something that is somewhat new is our capability to use the Internet. And how it works is we can be on a laptop here on the International Space Station and basically control remotely a PC or a computer down on the ground that is connected to the Internet. So it's - we're limited to when we have the correct communications coverage to be able to be on the Internet and there is some lag in it. So it does work slower than you're probably used to on the ground. But it's a very useful tool. And it really helps us to stay connected with what's going on, on the Earth.
Full transcript here. By the way, some of the astronauts mentioned during the webcast that they are tweeting from space, and you can follow them as they post photos and observations. Clearly, Twitter is not making them stupid.