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Twitter bots, NASA, and Robots: Oh my!

By Laura Harrison
Friday, 20 September 2019

If you were like many of us as kids, “astronaut” was your childhood dream job and NASA was the dream office. Recently, a crew of lucky #TapIntoTwitter attendees were able to live out a popular childhood fantasy when they visited the NASA Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL) in Pasadena, California for a developer event co-hosted by the NASA JPL and Twitter teams.

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#TapIntoTwitter LA was buzzing with an excited developer audience at NASA’s facility. The NASA team was equally excited to have a chance to showcase their new and exciting projects, including how you can get started on your own space projects by applying for a NASA API key. Our event attendees, of course, were mesmerized from start to finish, beginning with bots and demonstrations, all the way through a tour of the JPL and a hands-on technical workshop empowering them to work on their own apps powered by Twitter and NASA APIs.

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NASA APIs, Twitter bots, and Robots

The event kicked off with Melody Ho of NASA, who specializes in NASA Developer APIs, and the rest of the presenting NASA team. They gave demonstrations of their own new API projects-- and they let us know that NASA APIs are taxpayer-funded and therefore available to the public, including those in attendance. The NASA team also walked us through a new and compelling project released that day around the weather on Mars. NASA takes continuous weather measurements and provides summaries of that measurement data on their website.

Jim Moffitt, one of our Twitter Developer Advocates, was up next to connect the dots between Twitter data and the kind of API projects that NASA has available. Jim reminded us about Twitter’s commitment to our roots. We are giving developers the opportunity to be a part of the next generation of the Twitter API. 

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After Jim’s presentation, Hamza Alam, another of our Developer Advocates at Twitter, tied all the pieces together with a bot he created using NASA’s Image of the Day API and creating an integration with the free Twitter API. While NASA’s API provides developers with the ability to play around with code that will automatically populate a NASA “Image of the Day” on their website, Hamza took the API a step further, marrying it to Twitter’s API to enable those images to also be automatically Tweeted - in policy-compliant fashion, of course. Using Hamza’s Twitter bot, developers can show off their NASA chops with a new astronomical or celestial image in daily Tweets.

Innovation and childhood dreams come true at NASA

A highlight of the event was the hands-on part of the day: Developers had a large chunk of time scheduled where they could connect with the Twitter and NASA teams in a live workshop, getting answers to their questions and help on coding their own apps. After all, what’s a trip to the home base of innovation without being able to, well, innovate?

No visit to the JPL is complete without a tour. #TapIntoTwitter Los Angeles attendees had the opportunity to see the Mars Rover up close in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility and Spaceflight Operations Facility a.k.a Mission Control. Talk about a childhood dream come true.

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The majority of developers at the event already had Twitter developer accounts, and you should too. Signing up for a Developer Account is free, easy and is the first step you need to take in order to start building on the Twitter API.

Our heartfelt thanks to our NASA partners, Ryan Bell (@ryan_2_bell) and Stephanie Smith (@stephist) of the JPL Digital and Social Media team, for co-hosting and to the developer community for joining us. You could say that NASA was not the final Twitter frontier: We will certainly be partnering again in the future to host more events at NASA JPL.

Want more #TapIntoTwitter?

Join us on September 25, 2019 in Tel Aviv for #TapIntoTwitter Israel. 

Read the highlights from #TapIntoTwitter NYC held on June 4, 2019.

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@lvhcolorado

Laura Harrison

‎@lvhcolorado‎

Marketing Manager

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