File photo: Tourists pictures of a NASA sign at the Kennedy Space Center visitors complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida, April 14, 2010. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
A newly hired NASA intern recently lost a position in the office after a vulgar exchange with a famous NASA engineer on Twitter, according to news reports, including one from USA Today.
The exchange was caught by several news sites on the web by means of screenshots — started by the user, which is in the grip @NaomiH_official, wrote in capital letters, “I got accepted for a NASA internship,” adding a sentence with foul language to express excitement.
The post resulted in a severe reaction of Homer Hickam, a former NASA engineer whose memoir “Rocket Boys” — about growing up in a rural coal-mine community during the Depression of the 1930s, while he learned about rocketry — inspired the 1999 Hollywood movie “October Sky.” “Language,” Hickam said in the tweet.
@NaomiH_official responded to Hickam with another vulgar tweet, add to the end of the ” I’m working for NASA.” Hickam said, “And I am on the National Space Council, which oversees NASA,” referring to his appointment earlier this year. The conversation quickly went viral on Twitter, garnering thousands of responses from other users.
After the exchange on social media, Hickam wrote a blog post (that has since been removed, but is quoted in the newspaper USA Today and other outlets): he said that he had heard of @NaomiH_official was fired from the internship. Hickam added that he had not reached the agency about the tweets and that he has no control in NASA employment decisions. The bureau got wind of the conversation because many users had responded while tagging NASA, Hickam said.
“It occurred to me that this young person might get in trouble if NASA saw it, so I tweeted to her one word: ‘Language’ and intended to leave it at that,” Hickam wrote in the post, which was cited in several news reports. “Soon, her friends took umbrage and said a lot of unkind things, but long after I was gone, I immediately my comments deleted and blocked for all involved.”
Hickam added that @NaomiH_official apologized for the comments, just as he, and he is doing “everything he can” to find the Twitter user who have a position in the aerospace industry. Meanwhile, @NaomiH_official their Twitter profile private, add in the bio-field, “Taking a break from Twitter for a while.”
NASA not immediately respond to requests for comment from the newspaper USA Today and other news media to the agency.
Original article on Space.com.