**Edit: My friend who works at NASA's JPL has informed me that Mars Pheonix was a lander, not a rover. I stand corrected, and out geeked in a major way...
Recently my colleagues John Bell and Kristin Foster ran a "Twitter Bootcamp" webinar breaking down several of the most popular Twitter strategies for business looking to engage on the platform.
Unfortunately we clearly overlooked the strategic needs of the Martian Rovers Landers and their extraterrestrial peers - who have great potential on Twitter, as evidenced by Mars Phoenix. The Mars Phoenix rover lander has Twittered over 600 updates in the first person since last spring, thanks to a social media savvy employee at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. And while Mars Phoenix quickly rose through the ranks of the Twitterati (it currently stands at #7 with nearly 40,000 followers), it made major headlines this week with its final tweet - "01010100 01110010 01101001 01110101 01101101 01110000 01101000 <3" which is binary for "Triumph", NASA's new tagline. The rover lander, which was intended for a 90 day mission lasted 2 months longer than anticipated; its heater finally went kaput at the onset of the martian winter and its believed to be frozen now on the surface.
But, the geek fest didn't stop there. (Picture of my own geek fest at JPL's Open House this spring at right.) Many of comments on Wired Magazine's post announcing the final transmission were actually written in binary. (Uhhh, yeah.) Wired then launched a contest asking readers to come up with an epitaph for Mars Phoenix, which would appear as its final tweet. Submissions were voted up or down in a Digg style format that encouraged thousands of votes and the top three vote getters got official mission gear from JPL. (The final tweet, for those of you who don't read Latin means "I came, I saw, I dug." I only know that because Wired say so, it's not like I speak Latin or anything.)
This was obviously a wildly successful effort for NASA/JPL, making the rover's landers extraterrestrial activity accessible and understandable for just about anyone - it will be exciting to see what comes next from these guys (and gals.)
(For those of you who are not Mars rovers landers, feel free to check out 360 Digital Influence Group's presentation with the top strategies for people doing business here on Earth.)