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NASA Announces Launch Tweetup for GRAIL Moon Mission
09.07.11
 
A Participant at a NASA Tweetup
Credit: Brian Knight, STS-129 Launch Tweetup participant

NASA will host a two-day launch Tweetup for 150 of its Twitter followers on Sept. 7-8 at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Tweetup is expected to culminate in the launch of the twin lunar-bound GRAIL spacecraft aboard a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The launch window opens at 8:37 a.m. EDT on Sept. 8. The two GRAIL spacecraft will fly in tandem orbits around the moon for several months to measure its gravity field, from its crust to core, in unprecedented detail. The mission also will answer longstanding questions about Earth’s moon and provide scientists with a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed.

The Tweetup will provide @NASA Twitter followers with the opportunity to tour the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex; speak with scientists and engineers from GRAIL and other upcoming missions; and, if all goes as scheduled, view the spacecraft launch. The event also will provide participants the opportunity to meet fellow tweeps and members of NASA's social media team.

2011 is one of the busiest ever in planetary exploration; GRAIL's lift off is the third of four space missions launching this year under the management of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Aquarius launched June 10 to study ocean salinity; Juno will launch Aug. 5 to study the origins and interior of Jupiter; and the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity rover heads to the Red Planet no earlier than Nov. 25.

What is a Tweetup?

A Tweetup is an informal meeting of people who use the social messaging medium Twitter. This Tweetup is an opportunity to learn more about NASA and the GRAIL mission to the moon, explore NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida and experience a launch.

How do I register?

Tweetup registration opened at 9 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 26, and closed at noon EDT on Thursday, July 28. NASA will accommodate 150 participants randomly selected from those who sign up. Additional registrants will be placed on a waiting list.

Registration is for one person only (you) and is non-transferable.

Do I need to have a Twitter account to register?

Yes. This event is designed for active Twitter users who follow @NASA, @NASATweetup and other NASA Twitter accounts. The goal of NASA Tweetups is to allow people who regularly interact with each other via Twitter to meet in person and discuss one of their favorite subjects: NASA. If you are not familiar with Twitter nor a regular user of Twitter and just want to see a spacecraft launch, NASA offers other ways to experience a launch. Learn more at http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/launchingrockets/viewing.html.

The Twitter account for the Tweetup is @NASATweetup, and the hashtag is #NASATweetup. We'll use both to post updates and reminders about the event. Follow the GRAIL mission via @NASA and @NASAJPL.

What are the registration requirements?

Registration indicates your intent to travel to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida and attend the two-day event in person. You are responsible for your own expenses for travel, accommodation, food and other amenities.

Kennedy is a government facility. Those who are selected will need to complete an additional registration step to receive clearance to enter the secure areas at Kennedy. To be admitted, you will need to show two government-issued identifications (one with a photo) that match the name provided on the registration. Those without proper identification cannot be admitted. All registrants must be at least 18 years old.

Can I register if I am not a U.S. citizen?

Yes, non-U.S. citizens may register to attend the Tweetup in Florida. Please indicate your country of citizenship in the drop-down menu during registration. Kennedy is a government facility. If you have a green card, you will be processed as a U.S. citizen. Those who are selected will need to complete an additional registration step to receive clearance to enter the secure areas at Kennedy. To be admitted, you will need to show two government-issued identifications (one with a photo) that match the name provided on the registration. Those without proper identification cannot be admitted. All registrants must be at least 18 years old.

Does my registration include a guest?

Because of space limitations, you may not bring a guest. Each registration provides a place for one person only (you) and is non-transferable. Each individual wishing to attend must register separately.

What if I cannot come to Florida?

If you cannot come to Florida to attend in person, you should not register for the Tweetup. You can follow the Tweetup conversation using the #NASATweetup hashtag. NASA may broadcast a portion of the program on Sept. 7. You can watch the launch of GRAIL on Sept. 8 on NASA TV at http://www.nasa.gov/ntv. NASA will provide regular launch and mission updates on @NASA, @NASAKennedy and @NASAJPL.

If you cannot make this Tweetup, don't despair; NASA is planning others in the near future at various locations. Check back on http://www.nasa.gov/tweetup for updates.

When will I know if I am selected?

After NASA has received and processed the registrations, an email with confirmation information and additional instructions will be sent to those selected and those on the waitlist. We expect to send notifications by Aug. 3.

If you do not make the registration list for this Tweetup, you can still attend a launch. Learn about other ways to experience a launch at http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/launchingrockets/viewing.html.

What if the spacecraft's launch date changes?

If the launch date changes prior to Sept. 8, NASA may change the date of the Tweetup to match the new target launch date. NASA will notify registrants by email. If the launch is postponed for 24 hours on Sept. 8, Tweetup attendees will be invited to attend the launch Sept. 9. NASA cannot accommodate attendees for delays beyond 24 hours. Tweetup attendees are responsible for any additional costs they incur related to any launch delay.

Does registration for and/or attendance at the Tweetup qualify me for media accreditation?

Your GRAIL Tweetup registration and/or attendance does not qualify you for news media credentials at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, now or in the future.

Have a question not answered here? Need more information? Help is available by sending an email to HQ-twitter@mail.nasa.gov.

For more information about the GRAIL mission, visit:

http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/grail