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NASA's new Mars rover, Curiosity, kills time on Twitter

The $2.5 billion science lab still has millions of miles and plenty of tweets to go on its journey to the Red Planet.

NASA's new martian rover, Curiosity, is also quite chatty.
Screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

NASA's newest Mars rover, Curiosity, has a lot of time on its hands these days--so naturally it's spending a lot of time on Twitter.

The $2.5 billion science laboratory on wheels is in the middle of a 352-million mile trip to the Red Planet with an anticipated arrival date of August 5, 2012. If you're wondering exactly how fast that means Curiosity is traveling through space right now, well... you could just ask it, like @KristineKisky did, eliciting this response that's sure to confuse all non-space nerd-type people:

Curiosity has been actively tweeting and answering fan tweets since before its launch at the end of November. It's even developed a fairly sophisticated--if incredibly geeky--sense of humor and pop culture sensibility, with gems like Super Bowl weekend's "Think Brady & Manning throw long spirals? I'll go 352+ million miles to "touchdown" in Gale Crater." Or "30 Seconds to Mars? More like 241 days to go!"

The yuks are mixed in with a healthy dose of Curiosity's technical specs and mission details to create a social-networking space nerd fiesta, especially if you're also following @MarsRovers, the account for NASA's other dynamic duo of martian explorers, Spirit and Opportunity.

Like its predecessors, Curiosity is only planning to spend a few months exploring the Red Planet, but there's a good chance it could extend its mission--Opportunity has been cruising around Mars for nine years following a planned mission of only 90 days.

During all that time, the rover has yet to locate the source of the trouble with Tribbles. You Curiosity fans can tell it that it's free to re-tweet that line.