Can Twitter Cover Moon, Mars and Jupiter?

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., will host a Tweetup for approximately 120 Twitter followers on Monday, June 6.

With four space missions launching this year and an asteroid belt encounter nearly underway, 2011 will be one of the busiest ever in planetary exploration, says NASA.

Tweetup participants will interact with JPL scientists and engineers about these upcoming missions: Aquarius, to study ocean salinity; Grail, to study the moon’s gravity field; Juno to Jupiter; and the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity rover.

Participants also will learn about the Dawn mission and its upcoming encounter with the asteroid Vesta.

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NASA also had announced that airline and cruise ship passengers will be able to see an Emmy award-winning NASA TV program that shows how technology is part of everyday life.

The producers of “NASA 360″ reached an agreement with Airline Media Productions (AMP) International to air the half-hour magazine-style TV show through AMP’s entertainment outlets around the world. (Read: New TV Show in the Air and on the Seas)

Earlier, in a similar unique attempt, NASA astronaut Doug Wheelock became the first person to “check in” from space using the mobile social networking application Foursquare. (Read: Social Networking from the Outer Space)

A Tweetup is an informal meeting of people who use the social messaging medium Twitter. NASA Tweetups provide @NASA followers with the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at NASA facilities and events and speak with scientists, engineers, astronauts and managers.

[ Also Read: Goby Geek Getting Busy on Twitter ]

It now appears that Twitter is tweeting up in all directions. LG, for example, has introduced a social network services application for the first time. The company says viewers engaged with Tweet-TV would be able to interact with program content and submit their comments on programs. (Read: LG Tweets with Tweet-TV on Mobile Digital TV)

And Paramount Pictures has launched the movie trailer for its film, SUPER 8, from writer/director J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg, in partnership with Twitter. (Read: Now Even a Movie Trailer on Twitter)

Recently, pizza company Pizza Hut decided to turn to its Twitter followers to find out what should be stuffed into the crust next. It asked fans to tweet their answers to “What Would You Stuff Into the Crust?” (Read: Free Pizza Award for Twitter Followers)

NASA Tweetups range from two hours to two days in length and include a “meet and greet” session to allow participants to mingle with fellow Tweeps and the people behind NASA’s Twitter feeds.

The Tweetup will include a tour of JPL, robotics demonstrations and a last chance to see the Curiosity rover before it ships to Florida to prepare for a November launch.

Tour stops will include the Spacecraft Assembly Facility where Curiosity is under construction, the mission control center of NASA’s Deep Space Network, and JPL’s new Earth Science Visitor Center.

Tweetup participants also will mingle with fellow attendees and the staff behind the tweets on @NASA, @NASAJPL, @MarsRovers, @AsteroidWatch and more.

Registration for the event opens at noon PDT on Tuesday, April 26, and it closes at noon on Wednesday, April 27. For more information about the Tweetup and to sign up, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/tweetup

NASA Television will broadcast portions of the Tweetup on June 6 at: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-hd-tv and http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2

Photo courtesy: NASA

RMN News

Rakesh Raman