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It’s not all just gob-smacking pictures of intergalactic phenomena and breathtaking rocket launches, you know.

Well alright, a lot of it is, but the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (apologies for the condescension pub-quiz fans) goes far beyond mere image re-appropriation from its vast archives.

How far beyond you ask? Where no one has boldly gone before? You ask again, straining to keep a straight face.

Well to that I say “your cheap and easy reference demeans us both, and you know it.”

Here are some social media goodies from NASA.

My God, it’s full of stars

First of all, a quick visit to the social link section of NASA’s website will provide you with the single most amount of channel links I’ve ever seen on a page.

The above is just one full screen of approximately six. Included in this list are Twitter profiles for all the most important senior people and astronauts, as well as links for its various centres, facilities and organisations.

They come from another world

NASA’s Instagram has easily picked up 1.2m followers thanks to its varied collection of awe-inspiring images, posting sometimes three or four times a day.

NASA has just started using its video functionality in earnest. Here’s an incredible video of the sun failing to fully spurt out its plasma.

LA Galaxy’s next signing

This is quite possibly the most impressive news hijack ever. In honour of the World Cup, US astronauts Reid Wiseman and Steve Swanson posted this Instagram video 23m miles above Earth.

We don't want other worlds, we want a mirror

Reid Wiseman from the above video also has the honour of posting the first ever Vine from space.

Impressively these six seconds of time-lapse footage captured on the International Space Station feature a never setting sun.

As Space.com states, because the crewmembers aboard the space station travel  around Earth at 17,500 miles per hour every 92 minutes, they can see up to 16 sunrises and sunsets each day. But the sun never seems to rise or set when the station is aligned with the ‘terminator line’. A boundary where the darkness  of night meets the sunlight of dusk and dawn.

Posted on 6 June 2014, the Vine has amassed 11,100 likes, 5,131 revines and has been shared 23,800 times on Twitter and Facebook in less than two weeks.

Ground control to Major Tom

Of course the above Vine isn’t the first viral smash posted from the depths of space. That honour goes to Chris Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut whose cover of ‘Space Oddity’ was uploaded onto YouTube last May on the eve of Hadfield’s return to Earth after five months on board the International Space Station and amassed around 22m views.

Unfortunately as the video only had a 12 month licence to use the Bowie track, so the video has been taken down. However the sheer ubiquity of the track and its coverage in every news outlet meant a huge amount of exposure for the US space programme.

It’s too big to be space station

NASA is one of the few brands doing something right with Google+. It has 1.3m followers and has been viewed over 362m times.

One of the key ways in which NASA has achieved this following is through its steady programme of very entertaining Google Hangouts, all of which are available on its YouTube channel.

Here’s an hour long Hangout about ‘the weird and wonderful things that the Cassini spacecraft has been sending back about Saturn.

Here are six more brands experimenting with Google Hangouts 

A good many dramatic situations begin with screaming… 

NASA doesn’t just use Twitter for broadcast, even though it’s not necessarily a customer facing brand or service. In fact it often holds conversations with its followers and points them towards helpful sources when enquiries are made.

They mostly come at night... mostly

NASA TV shows a vast array of scheduled, pre-recorded educational and live programming 24 hours a day across a variety of channels via Ustream. 

Users can use the embedded chat function, or converse via Twitter while watching the stream. This is a fantastic and endlessly entertaining resource for all space aficionados.

You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind bogglingly big it is

NASA has a huge collection of images on Flickr, most of which are behind the scenes glimpses into various events around the USA.

At the moment there’s some great posts about the 2014 Robot Challenge, where teams are required to demonstrate autonomous robots that can locate and collect samples from a wide and varied terrain, operating without human control.  And it also looks like a good excuse to play a round of golf.

This approachable, personable insight is also mixed with fantastic images from its space launches.

There are more than 7,000 images to get lost in here.

Users can use the embedded chat function, or converse via Twitter while watching the stream. This is a fantastic and endlessly entertaining resource for all space aficionados.

For official purposes this recording instrument automatically deletes all offensive language and/or gestures

And let’s not forget all of these gob-smacking pictures of intergalactic phenomena and breathtaking rocket launches.

For more on social media strategy from brands, check out our posts on LEGO and Ford.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 19 June, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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