Foursquare played host this morning to something truly revolutionary: the first checkin from space. The checkin at the International Space Station also made Space Station Commander Doug Wheelock (@Astro_Wheels) the first person to unlock a new NASA Explorer foursquare badge. Earthbound users will be able to earn the badge when Wheelock returns to earth in late November by following NASA and checking in at their recommended locations.
The locations eligible for the badge are all related to the history of spaceflight, like the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL or the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. NASA has left interesting tips at each one, like this one at NASA Space Center Houston:
Launching point for the popular NASA Tram Tour for a behind-the-scenes look where you could see astronauts training for upcoming missions, the neutral buoyancy lab, and the mission control center.
The unlock text for Wheelock’s badge reads:
You are now 220 miles above Earth traveling at 17,500 mph and unlocked the NASA Explorer Badge! Show this badge and get a free scoop of astronaut ice cream.
“NASA’s work ranges from proving flight technologies to exploring the universe,” said Bob Jacobs, deputy associate administrator for communications at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “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.”
“Check-ins from around the world have been cool, but this blew my mind!” said Dennis Crowley, CEO and co-founder of Foursquare. “We’re psyched to partner with NASA to help users explore the space program and the universe.”
JESS3 (an About Foursquare sponsor) designed the customized NASA page for Foursquare and produced a check-in video that will be available soon.
In addition to their partnership with foursquare, NASA announced a partnership last week with Gowalla, where users can earn virtual moon rocks, NASA patches, space suits and space shuttles by checking in at spaceflight-related venues and science centers around the country. The moon rocks are available anywhere a real moon rock is on display, and the others are being dropped selectively by NASA and their first tweeting astronaut, Mike Massimino (@Astro_Mike).
As a space nut, I’m incredibly excited about the first checkin from space and the new badge. It’s a great way for NASA to connect with a younger generation â€” many of whom take space flight for granted â€” and make themselves more visible to the public.
UPDATE: Here’s video of the first checkin from space: