Honors Projects


This project analyzes how social media is used to engage general audiences in astronomy and space science, as well as ways to improve engagement through automation. Tweets from five space science organizations were sampled. The engagement rate for each tweet was calculated from the number of interactions it received. Accounts that tweet more per day had more followers, and accounts with more followers received more interactions. This project also investigated how to build a Twitter bot to automate science communication. Using NASA Application Programming Interfaces, a Twitter bot was written in Python to tweet images taken by the NASA Mars rovers at a scheduled time each day. The bot is able to interact with users by replying to mentions and direct messages with recent images taken by the Perseverance rover. Using a bot to automate posting can help smaller organizations increase their followings and potentially combat misinformation on social media. The code for the bot is given for introductory Python users to learn from and experiment with.


Physics and Astronomy



First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Layden

First Advisor Department

Physics and Astronomy

Second Advisor

Dr. Eric Mandell

Second Advisor Department

Physics and Astronomy

Third Advisor

Dr. Louisa Ha

Third Advisor Department


Publication Date

Summer 8-16-2021