The first of its kind “NASA Explorer” badge was awarded to astronaut Douglas Wheelock on Friday by the location-centric social network innovator Foursquare.
Wheelock accomplished this feat by checking in to the service from outer space while on a flight mission at the international space station some 220 miles above Earth.
“Check-ins from around the world have been cool, but this blew my mind. I can’t wait to see the battle for the mayorship of the international space station,” said an excited Dennis Crowley, co-founder of Foursquare.
With four million users that continues to increase, Foursquare is one of the fastest growing social network on the internet. The location-based mobile application allows users to “check in” to venues, collect virtual badges, and compete for mayorships of hot spots.
The NASA Explorer badge is available only in outer space. However when Wheelock returns to Earth, visitors can check in and unlock the badge simply by visiting NASA offices, launch facilities and other places relating to space. This event marks the beginning of NASA’s partnership with Foursquare.
“Show this badge and get a free scoop of astronaut ice cream,” reads the badge copy.
With similar mission of exploration, JESS3 – an interactive agency based in Washington, D.C – engineered the union between NASA and Foursquare. With Foursquare as a partner, NASA hopes to stir up interest and excitement about space exploration.
NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs explained, “NASA’s work ranges from proving flight technologies to exploring the universe. Partnering with Foursquare allows NASA to connect directly with the people who visit our locations and share with them the interesting things that happen at each place.”
Engaging social media has become NASA’s primary new way to promote its goals, particularly with young audiences. Previously to this Foursquare badge award, astronaut T.J Creamer sent the first Tweet from space earlier this year.
Photo source: Wikipedia