Artist's concept of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring.
On Oct. 19, the comet will have a very close pass at Mars, just 82,000 miles (132,000 kilometers) from the planet.

The NASA Social will highlight two upcoming comet events: the close flyby of Mars by Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring on Oct. 19, and the European Space Agency’s ongoing Rosetta mission, including the planned landing of the Philae probe on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in mid-November.

The event will offer people who connect with NASA through Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social networks, the opportunity to interact with scientists and engineers working on the Rosetta Mission and several Mars missions. Participants will interact with fellow space enthusiasts and members of NASA's social media team. They will also get a behind-the-scenes tour of JPL that includes:

  • Spacecraft Assembly Facility, where hardware for upcoming missions is under construction
  • Earth Science Center, where data from many of the agency's Earth-observing missions are showcased in interactive displays
  • Mars Yard, where engineering models of NASA's Curiosity rover are tested in a sandy, Mars-like environment

NASA Social participants are welcome to attend the annual JPL Open House, which takes place on Saturday, Oct. 11, and Sunday, Oct. 12. The free public event, themed “Welcome to Our Universe,” will include exhibits and demonstrations from numerous space missions. An interactive art installation inspired by comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko will also be on display.

Registration for this NASA Social is now open, and closes at 2 p.m. PDT (5 p.m. EDT) on Sept. 8, 2014. People who actively collect, report, analyze and disseminate news on social networking platforms are encouraged to apply. Selection is not random. Those chosen must prove through the registration process they meet specific criteria. Registration is for one person, aged 18 and over only, and is non-transferable. Selected attendees are responsible for their own expenses for travel, accommodation, food and other amenities.

Since 2009, NASA has held over 80 NASA Social events at venues across the United States. The program has brought thousands of people together for unique social media experiences of exploration and discovery.

For more information on the event and to register, go to:

For more about comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring, visit:

For more information on the U.S. instruments aboard Rosetta, visit:

More information about Rosetta is available at:

JPL manages the U.S. contribution to the Rosetta mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. JPL also built the MIRO instrument and hosts its principal investigator, Samuel Gulkis. JPL manages the Mars Exploration Program for NASA.
The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.