I found this article interesting, not only for its information but also for the technique of de facto instant polling of who was jazzed by Curiosity. The short answers are: a) men are somewhat more interested than women, b) teens don’t care, c) the 25-34 age group was most interested. Naturally U.S. folks were more excited, but Costa Rica also made the top of the list. As far as states, California and D.C. were all hot, but interestingly Utah and Colorado (no surprise as some of those states have natural areas that look like Mars 🙂 )
The involvement of social media, esp. Twitter on the night of the landing, and now Facebook as a measure of interest is entirely new and welcome. Being able to share this mission with as many people as will look brings the value of space exploration more than just the TV broadcasts of earlier missions. The fact that anyone, outside the mission geologists, get excited about views of desolate plains with lots of gravel is, to me, quite remarkable. Space pictures are always popular, but it’s usually those glamorous false-color telescope shots and not dull images from a place we’ve already visited. I’m delighted that at least some people get interested in science and having social media provide more of a real-time and shared experience adds to the fun.