NASA and the mobile application Foursquare have teamed up to help the public unlock its scientific curiosity with a new rover-themed Curiosity Explorer badge.
Users of the Foursquare social media platform can earn the badge by following NASA and checking in at a NASA visitor center or venue categorized as a science museum or planetarium. Upon earning the badge, users will see a special message on Foursquare:
“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.”
The launch of the badge follows the October check-in on Mars by NASA’s Curiosity rover, which marked the first check-in on another planet. Foursquare users can keep up with Curiosity as the rover checks in at key locations and posts photos and tips, all while exploring the Red Planet.
After landing in Gale Crater in August, Curiosity began a 23-month mission that includes some of Mars’ most intriguing science destinations. The mission’s main science destination will be on Mount Sharp, a mountain about 3 miles tall. First, Curiosity is investigating targets on flatter ground near the mountain, seeking clues in the rocks and soil that would indicate whether Mars ever was capable of supporting microbial life. It also is taking pictures of the trip, beaming them back to Earth for all to share.
NASA has been on Foursquare since 2010 through a strategic partnership with the platform. This partnership, launched with astronaut Doug Wheelock’s first-ever check-in from the International Space Station, has allowed users to connect with NASA, and enabled them to explore the universe and rediscover Earth.
The partnership launched the now-expired NASA Explorer badge for Foursquare users, which encouraged them to explore NASA-related locations across the country. It also included the launch of a NASA Foursquare page, where the agency continues to provide official tips and information about the nation’s space program.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the Mars Science Laboratory mission and its Curiosity rover for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The rover was designed, developed and assembled at JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif.