Oct. 3, 2012 at 6:15 PM ET
Mars rover Curiosity continues to court social media with a cheeky "check-in" on Mars using the popular location-based social network Foursquare.
Curiosity checked in at Gale Crater midday Wednesday (that is, midday on Earth in North America), leaving a comment and a "tip" about the location. Such tips are usually made by Foursquare users to recommend dishes or call out good service; Curiosity gives some helpful advice for prospective visitors to Mars:
Mars is cold, dry and rocky. Extra moisturizer and sturdy shoes would be a good idea, plus oxygen for those of you who breathe.
The tip is accompanied by a photo illustrating said dryness and airlessness:
Foursquare allows users to become the "mayor" of a location by visiting it more often than anyone else. Curiosity is, as it says in its check-in, one step closer to being mayor of Mars.
Earthbound folks won't be able to check into Gale Crater, since the app will detect that they are a little too far from the location, but they can still add it to to-do lists and follow Curiosity's journey at NASA's profile.
It's the first check-in on Mars, but not the first in space: a year ago, astronaut Douglas Wheelock checked into the International Space Station, setting that particular record.
NASA's rover (and the team behind it) have been extremely active in social media, from broadcasting and tweeting the landing live to engaging with other users and celebrities online. Using Foursquare to highlight its trip may seem gimmicky, but it's also functional, as it's another convenient way for Curiosity's colleagues on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere to track its progress.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.