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cassiopeia supernova NASA
NASA/JPL-Caltech
“Such a shame nowhere near even a near miss/Light years away from the hope of being sun-kissed/Anchored home in her interstellar sea but/Poor lonely Cassiopeia.”
SPACE SWAG

NASA is demonstrating its hipness by tweeting supernovas at pop stars

By Adam Epstein

The rascals behind NASA’s peerless social media presence are at it again.

The US space agency, which put a man on the moon in 1969, has incidentally mastered the art of social media. Space probes are anthropomorphized, breathtaking images are shared incessantly, and sold-out events are held—all with the shared goal of getting as many people as possible interested in the agency’s accomplishments and discoveries. NASA, more than any other US government entity, is hip, and it wants you to know it.

Today (April 28), NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center ‘grammed and tweeted a striking composite image of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A, tagging renowned singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles in both.

“This is for our friend Sara Bareilles who seems to have a soft spot for and likes to sing about Cassiopeia A supernova,” the Instagram post read. That is, of course, a reference to Bareilles’ song “Cassiopeia,” off her Grammy-winning 2013 album The Blessed Unrest, embedded below for your listening pleasure.

NASA Goddard’s Instagram account has 1.4 million followers, which is quite a lot on its own. The main NASA Instagram account has 11.3 million followers. But when Bareilles caught wind of the image, she tweeted it out to her 3.3 million followers. Just like that, its audience more than doubled.

Make no mistake, this was a strategic decision by the wise internet wizards at NASA. Bareilles, who’s active on social media, has tweeted about space things before. NASA probably figured that she was likely to share the image to her many followers if she was tagged in it.

Other US government agencies, take note. This is how you make the people think you’re cool. Perhaps next will be this: