In a spectacular demonstration of the fact that government does at least one thing right, early Monday morning NASA landed a robot on another planet. Dubbed Curiosity, the one-ton, SUV-sized rover ended its 350-million mile journey with what NASA referred to as the “seven minutes of terror,” an engineering feat involving the largest supersonic parachute ever made, a sky crane, and the breathtaking audacity of NASA’s scientists here on earth. We thought we’d celebrate this week by showcasing some of the apps that NASA developed to bring space exploration to your mobile device.
Here at AppMuse we can’t help but be impressed by NASA’s achievements, and this isn’t the first time we’ve written about them. Last time we took a look at, among other things, NASA’s fantastic mobile app, which is absolutely worth downloading, especially since it’s free of charge. Of course, with all the well-deserved fanfare surrounding Curiosity’s epic voyage, we sometimes forget that we already have a rover called “Opportunity” on Mars, and that NASA made the pictures it’s taken available through the Mars Images app. NASA is also planning to develop a similar app for Curiosity once they’ve recovered from their celebratory champagne hangover.
NASA doesn’t exist solely to explore, however; it also educates, and to do so it has a host of mobile apps for space enthusiasts of all ages. Spacecraft 3-D, for example, uses “augmented-reality” animation to show how spacecraft can maneuver and manipulate their outside components. It includes not only Curiosity, but also the GRAIL spacecraft called Ebb and Flow (currently orbiting the moon), and will soon incorporate the Cassini spacecraft (currently orbiting Saturn), the Dawn spacecraft (currently studying the asteroid belt), and the Voyager craft, which are at the very edge of our own solar system. There’s also the NASA Television app that brings on-demand NASA programming to your mobile device.
Of course, if your tastes are a bit more … fanciful, the folks at Rovio are doing their part to bring Mars to the masses with the release of Angry Birds: Red Planet this September. The teaser video for the newest iteration of the wildly popular game opens with the question, “After travelling 352 million miles, the Curiosity Mars rover touches down on the Red Planet. What will it find?”