NASA's Curiosity Rover Checks In To Mars Via Foursquare

 @ericbrownzzz
on October 03 2012 5:09 PM
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A screencap of Curiosity's check-in on Mars, complete with a picture taken from Gale Crater. NASA/Foursquare

Foursquare now has its very first check-in from the surface of another world. As NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity was exploring the Red Planet, it took the time to let Earthlings know it was in Gale Crater via Foursquare on Wednesday.

“One check-in closer to being Mayor of Mars!” the rover wrote as it checked in to Mars’ Gale Crater.

Foursquare is playing along with Curiosity amazingly well. The Gale Crater Foursquare page contains information on the crater and even a map showing Curiosity’s location on Mars.

Foursquare’s description of Gale Crater reads, “Mars’ Gale crater, spanning 96 miles (154 kilometers) in diameter, sits a few degrees south of the Martian Equator. Rising from Gale’s center is Mount Sharp, a 3-mile-high (5 km) mountain of layered sediment. Studying the rocks and soil here could reveal if Mars was ever capable of supporting life.”

Also on the Foursquare page for Gale Crater are two “tips” Curiosity left for would-be visitors to the spot. The tips read, “Wish you weighed less? Visit the Red Planet. Because Mars is so much smaller, its gravity makes you weigh only 3/8 what you do on Earth,” and “Mars is cold, dry and rocky. Extra moisturizer and sturdy shoes would be a good idea, plus oxygen for those of you who breathe.”

This isn’t the first time NASA has gotten people excited about Curiosity over the Internet. The rover’s Aug. 6 Mars landing was televised via an extremely popular live-stream. And ever since Curiosity landed, the probe’s caretakers have been using social media to boost its popularity.

When Curiosity made its touchdown, the rover tweeted, “I'm safely on the surface of Mars. GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!!” The tweet was massively popular, receiving more than 72,000 retweets and nearly 15,000 favorites.

Later, when Curiosity began testing its rock-disintegrating laser, the rover announced the successful test with the hashtag #pewpew, which quickly began trending across Twitter.

Wednesday’s Foursquare check-in is just another testament to NASA’s social media team, which has so far done a fantastic job at keeping fans excited and informed about what could be the most important space mission in recent years.

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