When the Mars rover Curiosity touched down last Sunday, huge crowds of fans cheered online, watching the Ustream feeds and chatting on Twitter.
The engineering hurdles it cleared to land, and the array of technological equipment on board to study the Red Planet, put Curiosity light years ahead of past rovers. But with a budget on the chopping block, NASA needed to be creative to get people excited about space again. And it looks like it's doing just that.
NASA and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory maintain presences on multiple social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Google+ and more. It even holds "NASA Socials," events where those who follow NASA online can meet the people who maintain NASA's accounts, as well as scientists, engineers and astronauts.
This latest mission had two breakout stars: the @MarsCuriosity Twitter account, whose first-person Tweets, injected with pop culture references and whimsy, are narrating Curiosity's ongoing story in a way that's engaging and informative.
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) August 8, 2012
And, of course, Bobak Ferdowsi, the Mohawk-sporting flight director who became an instant hit online.
Watch Freshwire's 60 Seconds of Social Media below to see how NASA's digital strategy is uniting space fans online.
And in a new :60SSM segment, All's Fair in Love & Tech, we'll check out the battle raging between Apple and Samsung.
Missed last week's episode? You can catch it here.
Follow Shawn Amos on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ShawnAmos