NASA grows audience, credibility through tweetups

HAMPTON, Va. (AP) - Rocket science isn't easily explainable in 140 characters, but NASA is asking a group people to do just that with a series of VIP tours for some of its ardent Twitter followers.

The events are called tweetups. They offer ordinary science fans a behind-the-scenes look at the space agency's facilities. In exchange, many participants narrate their day through tweets, photographs and videos.

Experts say what sets NASA apart from other organizations is that they'll invite people who may only have a few dozen followers.

At a recent tweetup at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., participants' day jobs ranged from church office worker to baker.

NASA has held 30 tweetups since 2009.