Commander Douglas Wheelock, who is orbiting the Earth aboard the International Space Station, sent a message from his Twitter account, @Astro_Wheels, saying he had "unlocked the 'NASA Explorer Badge'" on Foursquare.
Foursquare, is an internet/geo-location/social-network service with more than four million members. It allows users to broadcast their whereabouts to other users of the service and earn "badges" for the places they check in from or to become the "mayor."
In a fun publicity stunt marking the launch of a partnership between the space agency and Foursquare the message from space was that this will enable Foursquare users to “explore the universe”.
Upon checking in at the ISS, Cmdr Wheelock received a message from Foursquare: “You are now 220 miles above Earth travelling at 17.500mph and unlocked the Nasa Explorer badge. Show this badge to get a free scoop of astronaut ice cream.”
Once Cmdr Wheelock completes his stint on the Space Station, the Explorer badge will be made available to all Foursquare users.
NASA has been quick to adopt Facebook, Twitter and other social networking tools and offers Foursquare badges to visitors to a number of NASA facilities, including mission control in Houston – users will simply need to visit space-themed attractions, such as the Kennedy Space Centre or the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in the United States.
“Check-ins from around the world have been cool, but this blew my mind,” said Dennis Crowley, chief executive and co-founder of Foursquare.
“We’re psyched to partner with Nasa to help users explore the space program and the universe.”
Images: Space Shuttle Endevour Over Earth & Hispaniola Panorama by NASA via Flickr