The Mars Curiosity Rover Is a She, Just So You Know

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A note to @MarsCuriosity's 1,270,220 followers on Twitter: NASA's intrepid rover is a she. At a science journalism conference today, the women behind her massively popular social media presence confirmed that "she" is the proper pronoun for referring to the Mars explorer. 

Science journos in Raleigh, North Carolina, for this week's Science Online 2013 conference broke the news on Twitter while watching a panel on social media. The speakers included Veronica McGregor, Courtney O'Connor, and Stephanie Smith, three NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory social media managers who handle the Curiosity account. They talked about their choice to give @MarsCuriosity a first person voice—so instead of newsy third-person updates, followers get character-driven, pop culture savvy dispatches like this: 

But if Curiosity possesses selfhood, surely the rover must have a gender? Indeed she does—and it's female, the team behind her account confirmed. The revelation came as a pleasant surprise to the scientific Twitterverse: 

As it turns out, NASA's fleet is no boy's club. After clearing up the matter of Curiosity's gender, O'Connor took the opportunity to let everyone know that all NASA ships of exploration and spacecraft should be referred to in the feminine. 

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