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NASA Makes Unprecedented Return To Mars, Advances Commercial Spaceflight And Adds To Its Amazing Research And Discoveries In 2012

Discovery arrived at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Dulles, Virginia, in April; Enterprise was unveiled at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York in July; Endeavour was moved to the California Science Center in Los Angeles in October; and Atlantis was relocated to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida in November.


NASA's social media activities continued to evolve in 2012. With more than 3.2 million Twitter followers on the agency's flagship account @NASA, more than a million on Facebook, and a growing audience of hundreds of thousands on Google+, NASA is connecting directly with more people to share the agency's activities, people and mission.

NASA's online media teams provided live coverage of several major agency events and milestones, including this year's historic SpaceX launches to the International Space Station, the Transit of Venus and the landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars. In each event, the agency shattered records for new levels of online engagement with live updates of each event that reached millions, and in the case of Curiosity -- billions, of people.

During the August Mars Curiosity rover landing, NASA's website received 15 million visits and sent out 36 million webcast streams of NASA TV, breaking records that had just been set during the Venus Transit (4.2 million website visits, 7.7 million webcast streams). In October, Curiosity checked-in on Foursquare from Gale Crater, making it the first time a check-in has happened on another planet. The two events contributed to record traffic to the site, 185 million visits through Nov. 30, up from 151 million for 2011.

For the first time, visits to from mobile devices contributed a significant amount of traffic, totaling more than 10 percent of all visits. The site was honored with its fifth People's Voice Webby for best government site, and for the first time received the judges' Webby award as well. also was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 50 Best Websites of 2012.

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