November 17, 2011
NASA Invites 150 Lucky Twitter Followers To Launch Of Mars Rover
NASA has invited 150 followers of the agency's Twitter account to a two-day launch Tweetup on Nov. 23 and 25 at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Tweetup is expected to culminate in the launch of the Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover aboard an Atlas V rocket from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The launch window is scheduled to open at 10:25 a.m. EST on Nov. 25. Curiosity's arrival at Mars is anticipated in August 2012 near Gale Crater. During the nearly two-year prime mission, the rover will investigate whether a selected area of Mars offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life and preserved that evidence, if it existed.
Tweetup participants were selected from more than 1,050 people who registered online. They will share their Tweetup experiences with their followers through the social networking site Twitter.
Participants represent the United States, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom. Attendees from the U.S. come from the District of Columbia and 37 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
Beginning at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23, NASA will broadcast a portion of the Tweetup when attendees talk with Jim Green, Planetary Science division director, and Doug McCuistion, Mars Exploration program director, both at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Engineers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., where the rover was designed and built will speak, as will mission scientists. To watch the broadcast, visit: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-tweetup
Participants also will tour Kennedy and Cape Canaveral, including a close-up visit to the launch pad. On launch day, they will speak with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden; Leland Melvin, NASA's assistant administrator for education; astronaut Doug Wheelock and Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Reporters credentialed to cover the launch also may cover the NASA Tweetup at Kennedy's press site. Reporters interested in interviewing Tweetup attendees in advance should contact Stephanie Schierholz at 202-358-1100 or [email protected]
NASA has invited its Twitter followers to attend eight previous launches: NASA's newest Earth-observing satellite, NPP; the twin GRAIL spacecraft bound for the moon; the Juno spacecraft on its way to Jupiter; and five space shuttle missions.
To follow participants on Twitter as they experience the prelaunch events and Curiosity's liftoff, follow the #NASATweetup hashtag and the list of attendees at: https://twitter.com/NASATweetup/mars-curiosity
JPL manages the mission. NASA's Launch Services Program at Kennedy is managing the launch.
For more information about the Mars Curiosity rover, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/msl
To connect with NASA on Twitter and other social networking sites, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/connect