I was one of those geeky people who has been following the Mars Phoenix lander on Twitter, and as the lonely little lander posted gloomy predictions of its impending demise, I felt a little sad. Then, yesterday, its final farewell message – 01010100 01110010 01101001 01110101 01101101 01110000 01101000 <3 – came through on my Twitter feed, and I admit it, I got a little choked up.
If you doubt the power of social networking, then take a look at the 38,825 followers on the Phoenix lander’s Twitter feed, where over 600 updates were posted on the daily progress of the 5-month mission’s tasks. There are also a great series of guest posts on Gizmodo, one of the most popular tech blogs, including this poignant final post “My Farewell Transmission from Mars.”
I think NASA really hit on a great way to get people involved and invested in its missions, and in the amazing science they produce. The Mars Rovers, Mars Science Lab, and Cassini Saturn projects all have Twitter feeds as well, so you can still keep up with what’s going on at NASA, and the mission team also will be using Phoenix’s feed to update on the results of data analysis.