The underscore in his username should’ve made us wary. Space Shuttle astronaut Mike Massimino, known as @Astro_Mike on Twitter, drew a third of a million followers for what most presumed were Massimino’s real-time tweets from space.

The Orlando Sentinel burst our balloon this morning by reporting how Massimino actually transfers his tweets from shuttle Atlantis’ orbit to Twitter’s servers in San Francisco.

Massimino writes his updates in space and then e-mails them to Houston, where a NASA employee posts them to his Twitter profile. That often takes hours because e-mails are only transmitted from the shuttle a few times a day.

Email batch jobs in 2009. Holy Usenet Archives! Next time, Mike, do what the private sector does: Ignore the IT guys and bring your own iPhone.

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