A NASA Meetup for space enthusiasts

Here’s a report on a NASA Social event in Pasadena, California : Inside a NASA Meetup, Where Science Fans Become Space Ambassadors – Underwire/Wired.com

The NASA Socials are the brainchild of JPL News and Social Media Manager Veronica McGregor, who started the program in January of 2009 (in those days, they were called “tweetups”; NASA switched to “socials” in 2012). For a year, McGregor had seen NASA’s burgeoning social media community connect space fans around the world. Now, she wanted to see if that engagement could translate to real life.

Four years and over 70 events later, nearly 5,000 space enthusiasts have attended 73 NASA meetups at 10 locations. Some give attendees a front-row seat to milestone events like launches and landings; others — like the one we’re at now — are intensive introductions to current and upcoming missions. Cumulatively, their impact has been significant: Not only have they given NASA fans an up-close and personal glimpse of their space program, but they’ve created a legion of enthusiastic and informed ambassadors for science and space exploration, armed with new tools and connections.

“The NASA Social alumni community are family to me,” says Shannon Moore. She’s been attending NASA tweetups and socials since the STS-129 launch in November of 2009. These days, she’s one of the group of volunteers who run and maintain the community wiki NASAtweet.com – the unofficial online hub for NASA socials and other space-related meetup events.