National Geographic vice president of audience development Kate Coughlin and social media producer Lena Shareef said in an email, “National Geographic is always looking to educate and engage consumers, and the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 was no different. This specific idea to ‘live-tweet’ the Apollo 11 mission as if it was happening in real-time came about six to seven months ago from one of our science writers, Michael Greshko. He suggested that it would be a fun way to relive and commemorate the moon landing, and we couldn’t agree more. We then started going through NASA’s historical logs of the mission, combing through its photo and video libraries, as well as content from the National Archives.”
National Geographic will live-tweet a virtual historical re-enactment of the mission, with each tweet representing an exact replica of NASA’s transcripts of what was occurring at the time.
Coughlin and Shareef said the initiative was developed solely by National Geographic, with support and interest from NASA, and images used in the project came from NASA’s public library, the Apollo 11 in Real Time site created by NASA historian and software engineer Ben Feist, the National Archives and those listed as public domain or free use on digital in the Nat Geo Image Collection.
There will be anywhere from three to seven tweets per day, depending on the actual Apollo 11 timeline, and those tweets will include the #Apollo11 hashtag and be bundled into a Twitter Moment April 20, the anniversary of the end of the mission.
The general hashtag being used to mark the anniversary is #Apollo50th.
National Geographic is marking the 50th anniversary celebration of Apollo 11 on other platforms, as well, including television, magazines, podcasts and other social networks.