NASA already has a great social media presence, giving regular updates on its Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Reddit accounts, and its Instagram account will provide a way for fans to easily share new images. NASA's main Twitter account has more than 4 million followers, while its account for the Mars Curiosity Rover has more than 1 million followers and other associated accounts have attracted hundreds of thousands. Clearly understanding the power of social media, NASA uses its various accounts to interact with fans and provide constant updates on missions and projects.
Speaking about NASA boldly joining Instagram, Lauren Worley, NASA press secretary, said in a statement, "Instagram has a passionate following of users who are hungry for new and exciting photos. We believe we have some of the most engaging images on and off the planet -- and we can’t wait to engage with Instagrammers." Worley also said Instragam fits the space agency's "story of exploration and discovery."
NASA's instagram account will include new photos and videos captured by the Curiosity Rover and from the recently launched Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) mission or other current missions, as well as historical photos and videos from previous missions.
For the space agency's first Instagram post, NASA focused on the new moon probe, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), which will launch Sept. 6, 2013. The photo of Earth was taken on July 20, 1969, by the Apollo 11 mission. NASA describes Earth in this image as floating "in the void of space, a watery jewel swathed in ribbons of clouds." The second post by NASA is of the moon's far side, taken by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's LROC Wide Angle Camera.
Currently NASA has a little more than 1,000 Instagram followers, but it may be just a matter of time before it catches up with rapper Drake's 3 million. In addition to the main NASA account, the Goddard Space Flight Center and the Ames Research Center also have Instagram accounts.
Charles Poladian joined IBTimes in October 2012 and, when not reporting on all things topical, can be found reading or photographing concerts.