If you're a Foursquare (News - Alert) junkie, you'll may be disappointed to find that there's a new badge you're going to have a pretty hard time acquiring. Foursquare, of course, is Web-based and mobile application that allows registered users to “check in” at certain venues via their mobile devices, connecting with friends updating their locations. Consider it something like three-dimensional social networking and a game put together: users can often earn “badges” for checking in at certain locations.
This week, Doug Wheelock earned a badge that's going to be a little out of reach for most people – about 220 miles out of reach.
Wheelock is a NASA astronaut, and his latest check-in was from the International Space Station, now a Foursquare venue. When he checked into the space station venue using Foursquare's mobile site, he received a message that revealed a new Foursquare badge: “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 now has a customized section of the Foursquare website, where the space agency will provide official tips and information about the U.S. space program in locations throughout the country (now Foursquare “venues”). When Wheelock completes his mission and returns to Earth at the end of November, the NASA Explorer badge will be available for all Foursquare users to earn at these other check-in venues – not only the International Space Station. Modern public relations? Sure it is... but it's fun, too.
“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 (News - Alert), CEO and co-founder of Foursquare. “We're psyched to partner with NASA to help users explore the space program and the universe.”
All minus the years of NASA training and the space sickness.
Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Tammy Wolf