In October 2010, foursquare made headlines with their first check-in from outer space, courtesy of astronaut Doug Wheelock’s check-in on the Space Station. Last week, they made headlines again with the first check-in from another planet thanks to the Mars Curiosity Rover. The robot will be checking in as it explores Mars.
“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 in a press 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 checked in at the Gale Crater last Tuesday. Unlike Wheelock — who thought it only took one check-in to become mayor — the rover checked in again on Saturday to earn the mayorship. It moved on to an area known as Rocknest earlier this afternoon.
Foursquare even created a special desktop version of their venue pages for the Mars locations. They feature a map of Mars derived from one MapBox created to mark the rover’s August landing (MapBox is foursquare’s regular mapping partner for their desktop site). In the mobile apps, the maps point to the offices of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is running the Curiosity mission.
Later this year, foursquare users will be able to unlock a Curiosity-themed badge “for check-ins at locations that generate an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.” The effort sounds similar to the space agency’s earlier NASA Explorer badge, which launched concurrent with Wheelock’s 2010 check-in.
Check-ins on Mars fit in perfectly with foursquare’s exploration focus, so its exciting to see foursquare working with NASA once again. What do you think of the check-ins?