Foursquare, the location-based check-in game, has expanded to the last location: space. Astronaut Doug Wheelock checked in while on the International Space Station today, earning himself an oh-so-exclusive “NASA Explorer” badge. But Foursquare is also partnering with NASA to encourage all kinds of terrestrial space-knowledge exploration.
This check-in kicks off Foursquare’s NASA partnership, which will make various NASA badges available to those who check in to space-related locations here on Earth. If you visit the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, U.S. Space Camp, or a host of other spacey places that don’t require years of training and a rocket, you’ll be able to compete for badges including the NASA Explorer badge.
These badges are just another way to encourage more learning about space, and go along with the space program’s recent push towards social networking. Little moves like posting amazing images to TwitPic, live-tweeting from space, and now this Foursquare integration are all serving to make space a little bit more tangible and approachable–fun, even. The Foursquare integration might be the best yet, actually, because it encourages people to explore space-related centers while remaining on or relatively near the ground. You could even look at it as incentive to get those outer-space colonies we’ve been wanting constructed ever-faster–can’t let Wheelock have that badge all to himself, right?