Washington: NASA has joined the world of Instagram - and has already attracted an incredible 56,374 followers within hours of posting its first pictures on the social media site.
The US space agency posted two images for its debut. One of the images was a detailed picture of the Moon and its grey, pock-marked surface.
The second one was a stunning Earth-rise. NASA promised many more photos would be posted soon.
"We`re constantly looking to expand our social media portfolio to include tools that will best tell NASA`s story of exploration and discovery," said NASA Press Secretary Lauren Worley.
"Instagram has a passionate following of users who are hungry for new and exciting photos. We believe we have some of the most engaging images on and off the planet - and we can`t wait to engage with Instagrammers," said Worley.
"Aeronautics, astrophysics, Earth science, human spaceflight and more, the NASA account will provide a comprehensive view of the agency by sharing new and historic images and videos," the space agency said on its website.
The first NASA posts also highlight the launch of the agency`s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), from its Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia.
LADEE is a robotic research mission that will orbit the Moon to gather detailed information about the structure and composition of the thin lunar atmosphere and determine whether dust is being lofted into the lunar sky.
Using Instagram, NASA posted historic Moon images and real-time photos from the launch complex before and during the liftoff.