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Social media scores from the Red Planet

Red Planet

It’s doubtful that author Ray Bradbury ever envisioned communication with the intimidating Red Planet coming via a social media mobile app. Certainly Bradbury’s famed Martian Chronicles never hinted at such a possibility. And we were so hung up running for our lives from Martians in two different releases of H.G. Wells’ iconic War of the Worlds that few ever thought we would actually voluntarily visit Mars in the first place. After all, who’s thinking of an away game on Martian soil when three-fingered veiny creatures are chasing us with extinction in mind! Against that backdrop of limited and fearful imaginings we now embrace a new reality, and it’s definitely not science fiction: The first contact ever from another planet has been initiated through a social media program.

In early October, the NASA rover “Curiosity” utilized the mobile application Foursquare to check in with Earth and share pictures and updates of its expedition across Mars’ Gale Crater. The rover will be conducting experiments for several months in its search to find evidence of past microbial life on the Red Planet, Earth’s nearest outer neighbor at 182 million miles.

“NASA is using Foursquare as a tool to share the rover’s new locations while exploring Mars,” said David Weaver, associate administrator for communications at NASA Headquarters, to Yahoo! News. “This will help involve the public with the mission and give them a sense of the rover’s travels.”

Mobile

With Foursquare, a location-based site for mobile devices, users “check in” at venues, choosing from a list of places the application locates nearby. Location is based on GPS hardware within the mobile device. Each check-in awards points to the user. As of April 2012, the company reported it had 20 million registered users who have made more than 2.5 billion check-ins since the free app was first introduced in March 2009.

It appears that Curiosity will go unchallenged for the title of “mayor” of Mars, too. The Foursquare term “mayor” is bestowed on the person, or entity, that checks in the most times during a 60-day period from the same location. We’re pretty sure the Universe at large already has given its concession speech to Curiosity.

NASA has been a Foursquare user since 2010, when astronaut Doug Wheelock recorded the first-ever check-in from outer space, at the International Space Station.

Whether from Mars or Main Street, check-in with MIPX.NET. We position your business in the universe of social media.

(Sources: space.com staff, “Mars Rover Curiosity ‘Checks In’ on Foursquare from Red Planet,” Oct 4, 2012, http://news.yahoo.com/mars-rover-curiosity-checks-foursquare-red-planet-212504835.html; foursquare blog, “Foursquare in space! Follow @MarsCuriosity as it explores the red planet,” Oct. 3, 2012,http://bit.ly/ODA6jt)

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