NASA’s Curiosity rover checks in on Mars using Foursquare

4 Oct 2012

US space agency NASA’s Curiosity rover has checked into a first: Mars. The car-sized device that landed on the red planet last month to help conduct experiments ‘checked in’ to Mars yesterday using the Foursquare mobile app.

Users of social media platform Foursquare can now keep up with Curiosity as it checks in at key locations and posts photos and tips while exploring Mars, NASA said.

“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 in Washington.

“This will help to involve the public with the mission and give them a sense of the rover’s travels through Gale Crater.”

After landing in Gale Crater a month ago, Curiosity began a 23-month mission that will hopefully include some of Mars’ most intriguing scientific destinations.

Curiosity is now heading toward Mount Sharp, a mountain about 5 kilometres (3 miles) high. It’s conducting experiments along the way, seeking clues in rocks and soil as to whether Mars ever was capable of supporting microbial life.

Back on Earth, Foursquare users later this year will be able to earn a Curiosity-themed badge for check-ins at locations that generate an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, such as museums, laboratories and science centres.

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic