In a space first, Mars rover 'checks in' on Foursquare

9:41 PM, Oct 3, 2012   |    comments
Photo: NASA via Foursquare
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Going where no mobile app has gone before, the Mars Curiosity rover Wednesday "checked in" with earthlings linked to Foursquare, an interplanetary first, NASA says.

"One check-in closer to being Mayor of Mars!" the braggadocio robot declared from Gale Crater, offering up a shadowy Red Planet portrait. (On Twitter, too.)

[Update at 7:44 p.m.: Martian mayorship requires at least two check-ins at a location. "Even on Mars, you play by the same rules," Courtney Connor, social media specialist for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, tells On Deadline.]

[Update at 8 p.m.: Foursquare has clarified Curiosity's Napoleonic attempt at an interplanetary political power grab: "Mars Curiosity is actually not in the running to be the mayor of 'Mars'. With one more check-in after today, it could become the mayor of 'Gale Crater' which is the spot on Mars where it checked in."]

NASA is using Foursquare "as a tool to share the rover's new locations while exploring Mars," NASA spokesman David Weaver said in a news release. "This will help to involve the public with the mission and give them a sense of the rover's travels through Gale Crater."

Curiosity will keep checking in during the next 23 months of its exploration.

NASA has partnered with the localization service since 2010, when astronaut Doug Wheelock did the first-ever space check-in from the International Space Station.

Foursquare, which claims a "community" of 25 million, touts itself as "a free app that helps you and your friends make the most of where you are." It offers "personalized recommendations and deals based on where you, your friends,
and people with your tastes have been."

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