NASA Uses Foursquare To Increase Curiosity
December 28, 2012

NASA Introduces Mars Curiosity Rover Badge For Foursquare

April Flowers for — Your Universe Online

NASA has been using social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to reach and excite the public all year, and now they have added a new social media partner: Foursquare. Foursquare, a mobile application, and NASA have teamed up to help the public unlock their scientitific curiosity with a new rover-themed Curiosity Explorer badge.

Foursquare is a social media platform that is location based — users check in at different locations, network with friends and get recommendations for where to go next. The Mars rover Curiosity has been checking in, leaving tips and has even earned a couple "mayorships" — an award given to Foursquare users who have uploaded pictures and have the most days checked into a particular venue.

Foursquare users who follow NASA and check in at venues such as planetariums, science museums, or NASA visitor centers can earn the NASA Curiosity Explorer badge. A special message will appear after you earn the badge: "Get out your rock-vaporizing laser! You've explored your scientific curiosities just like NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars. Stay curious and keep exploring. You never know what you'll find."

In October 2012, the Curiosity rover checked in from the red planet, making that the first ever check-in from another planet. Space fans can follow Curiosity's mission as it continues to check-in at key locations and post pictures and tips while exploring Mars.

Curiosity is on a 23-month mission that started with landing in Gale Crater this past August. The rover will visit some of Mars' most intriguing science destinations, including Mount Sharp — a mountain about 3 miles tall. Curiosity is first exploring the bottom of Gale Crater, seeking clues in the rocks and soil that would indicate whether Mars had ever been capable of supporting microbial life. Curiosity is also sending back pictures to Earth of the planet's surface.

NASA first started using Foursquare in 2010 when astronaut Doug Wheelock's first-ever check-in from the International Space Station. This strategic partnership has allowed users to connect with NASA and enabled them to explore the universe and rediscover Earth.

When the partnership was first formed, Foursquare users could earn the now-expired NASA Explorer badge, which encouraged them to explore NASA-related locations across the nation. NASA also launched a Foursquare page where the agency continues to provide official tips and information about the nation's space program.

And, of course, the Curiosity rover has a Foursquare page of its own.