Whether you want to quip that Instagram is going where no photo-sharing app has gone before or that this is one small step for man and one giant leap for Instagram, the possibilities are fascinating. NASA plans to share the universe with the photo-sharing app's users through stunning images.
That's right. NASA has officially launched its own Instagram profile that will take its fans on an out-of-this-world journey through images of earth and beyond. Aeronautics, astrophysics, earth science, human spaceflight and more, the NASA account will provide a comprehensive view of the agency by sharing new and historic images and videos.
"We're constantly looking to expand our social media portfolio to include tools that will best tell NASA's story of exploration and discovery," said NASA Press Secretary Lauren Worley. "Instagram has a passionate following of users who are hungry for new and exciting photos. We believe we have some of the most engaging images on and off the planet -- and we can't wait to engage with Instagrammers."
An Educational PR Move
The first NASA posts highlighted the launch of the agency's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) on Friday morning from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va.
LADEE is a robotic research mission that will orbit the moon to gather detailed about the structure and composition of the thin lunar atmosphere and determine whether dust is being lofted into the lunar sky. Using Instagram, NASA will post historic moon images and real-time photos from the launch complex before and during Friday's scheduled liftoff.
We asked Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, for his take on the high-profile Instagrammer. He told us this is a PR and marketing effort for NASA -- and a way to reach a younger audience and educate it about astronomy.
"It could help interest a generation of tweens and teens in science in a way that other educational tools and methods may not be able to," Sterling said.
NASA's Social Media Savvy
Of course, NASA is no stranger to social media. The agency's Instagram profile complements NASA's strong social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Flickr, Foursquare, Reddit and other sites.
NASA's strategy with social media: engaging and inspiring the public with unique content. The agency's primary Twitter account, @NASA, has almost 5 million followers -- more than any other federal agency.
NASA's use of social media is recognized as one of the best in federal government. Along with the new official NASA account, the agency's Goddard Spaceflight Center and Ames Research Center also have profiles on Instagram.