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NASA's LRO Surpasses 100,000 Mark on Twitter
Artist concept of LROArtist concept of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Credit: NASA NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, LRO, reaches another milestone with acquiring over 100,000 followers on Twitter.

LRO joined Twitter on May 29, 2008. LRO’s Twitter account was started by the project’s Deputy Project Manager, Catherine Peddie at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Peddie started tweeting from the first-person perspective of the spacecraft as it was being assembled and tested at the NASA Goddard.

"We opened the Twitter account, @LRO_NASA, to provide the public with ongoing events related to the spacecraft’s development and testing, said Brooke Hsu, LRO Education and Public Outreach (EPO) Lead at NASA Goddard."We also wanted to help promote the Send Your Name to the Moon campaign."

LRO’s first tweet was on June 2, 2008 and asked the question, "Would you like your name to go to the moon with me?" This tweet began a social media frenzy that kicked off the Send Your Name to the Moon campaign. Send Your Name to the Moon gathered more than a million names that are currently flying aboard the spacecraft 31 miles above the moon's surface.

The Twitter account averages a few hundred new followers in a week. This number varies, sometimes there are spurts of new followers, and at other times there is a little bit of a lull. Gaining 100,000 followers in three years is still an accomplishment.

The account receives significant responses to questions posted by the Twitter administrator and is commonly re-tweeted. LRO's followers also like the idea of LRO interacting with other spacecraft, such as the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) mission. The LRO and SDO Twitter accounts speak to one another.

"LRO's friends and followers range from professional scientists to those who are mildly interested in space and just think it's kind of cool to be friends with or hear from a spacecraft, to very young children who are just beginning to be excited about space and science. We get to help foster and encourage that curiosity, said Andrea Jones from the LRO EPO Team at NASA Goddard."In general, tweeting is a great way to share information with a really large, diverse, geographically-distributed audience."

NASA Goddard assembled and manages the LRO spacecraft for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

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Nancy Jones
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.