It looks like the Mars mission scientists at NASA are fans of Facebook, the largest social network in the world.
On Thursday, the space agency announced via a press release to PR Newswire that the discussion for the next Mars rover–or, the successor to the Curiosity rover–will air through the Facebook live feature, allowing millions of fans to witness it live on their palms using their smartphones and other handheld devices. Of late, the verified Facebook fan page of NASA has more than 16.4 million followers, while the NASA Curiosity page–also on Facebook–boasts about 1.2 million fans.
The event will start at exactly 1 p.m. EDT Friday, and it will host the talk about the science and technology surrounding the next Mars rover of the American space agency, the Mars 2020.
It is, according to NASA, a significant step on its journey to Mars which I think is a giant leap towards the agency’s first manned mission to the Red Planet.
The event will pave the way for the finalization of design and construction of the next robotic explorer, NASA has added.
During the event, fans of NASA will have a much closer look at the Mars Yard and rock drilling facility at the JPL in Pasadena, California where scientists test equipments for future space missions, including the instruments designed for the Mars 2020.
NASA also announced three key participants at the upcoming event. First is scientist Kenneth Farley of the Mars 2020 who is based at Caltech in Pasadena. Second, deputy manager at JPL, Matt Robinson, who is a member of the Mars 2020 sampling and caching team. And third is Allen Chen who is the descent and landing lead at the JPL’s Mars 2020 mission.
In August of last year, NASA announced that the 2020 mission will focus entirely on a new area at the Red Planet which is described as ‘geologically diverse,’ letting scientists explore the possibility of past ancient life of the said planet.
Some reports–also published last year–indicated that the 2020 mission of the space agency is its last in the book before its first exciting manned voyage to Mars.
NASA likes Facebook
The Facebook live event this month isn’t the first exclusive content of NASA for the social network giant. In January of this year, the space agency of America uploaded its first 360-photo of the Red Planet, captured by the Curiosity rover itself. It followed the first 360-video–also uploaded on Facebook–of the Curiosity team.
Facebook’s co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has applauded the uploads, calling the video a “neat” view of the surface of Mars.
“NASA produced it by stitching together photos taken by NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover, using technology created by the 360 video team at Facebook,” says Zuckerberg in a statement. “This is just the beginning of what we can do with virtual reality and 360 video. Pretty amazing.”