Mars Rover Landing: Social Media and Space Travel

By Sara Lasseter

On August 5, 2012, NASA successfully landed its robotic rover Curiosity on our dusty red neighbor in space. It only took 40 attempts, years of research and billions of dollars in government funding, but we finally made it!

In today’s plugged-in society where we are constantly connected, it was easier than ever to be a part of the anticipation and ecstasy of the NASA employees that worked on the landing of Curiosity. Streaming watch parties were held across the world for fellow space nerds to congregate and view the most epic touchdown ever broadcast. Whether from the privacy of their cherished Star Trek-themed bedroom or among other astronomically aware cronies, people were tweeting, posting and meme-making from the moment Curiosity set its wheels down in Mars’ Gale Crater.

The creation of the @MarsCuriosity Twitter handle in 2008 was the beginning of a highly social effort on behalf of NASA to get the average citizen more involved in its $2.5 billion project to land on Mars. While many people took the mission’s success seriously, social media sites exploded with Mars Rover humor and Curiosity comics. Articles everywhere highlighted the cleverest Mars Curiosity tweets and internet fanatics began cranking out memes on things like the London Olympics vs. NASA’s Curiosity landing. Continue reading