As well as NASA’s educational line-up, the space agency also released a free astronaut simulation for Windows on Steam last year (which is lots of fun). Now iOS users get to join in from an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad with a range of different NASA iPhone apps.
Here are 7 of the best NASA apps to entertain, amaze and inform you about space, science and the elements around us.
Not only does NASA Television provide a repository of past events in streaming video format, but it also offers viewers a chance to tune in live. The app allows you to plan your viewing a week in advance, and will notify you when scheduled programming is about to begin.
Never miss another launch, space station docking or NASA event with this fantastic little app.
Somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades, the official NASA App is a centralised source of all things related to missions, launches and spacecraft sighting opportunities in your region. It also incorporates a live stream of NASA TV and tons of cosmic images.
Perfect for flicking through and seeing what’s happening “up there”. Anything you find interesting can be shared straight to Facebook via Facebook Connect or Twitter with the integrated Twitter client. Space age!
Imagine being notified when a huge solar flare emits from the sun! If that sounds good to you then imagine being able to manipulate a model of the sun in 3D, with fresh satellite images taken millions of miles away.
Now you can! Probably quite useful if you’re a shortwave radio freak, 3D sun gives you up to date solar happenings in your pocket. You’ll also get access to some stunning images of everyone’s favourite gas ball detailing explosions and the incredible auroras (“northern lights”) left behind.
Delivering beautiful images taken with NASA’s Hubble telescope, HubbleSite is another app that delivers some jaw-dropping imagery. As well as learning about the history of this iconic telescope, you can also vote on your favourite images and use some of the finest shots as a wallpaper (cool, huh?)
iPhone 4 users rejoice, as this one is optimized for Retina display.
Not only does NASA create awesome news and educational apps, but they also create games such as this lunar rover simulator. A challenging freebie, you’re given the task of manoeuvring a lunar rover around the surface of the moon, as if you were employed by NASA themselves.
The controls are great, there are several difficulties to choose from once you’ve got the hang of it and the app features additional information about past and present lunar rovers (there had to be some educational value somewhere, of course).
Brighten up a rainy day with near-live views of the conditions in space with this weather app. Imagery is beamed in from a selection of active missions and there are visualisations and diagrams to help make everything a bit clearer.
There is also on-demand video featuring interviews and insight into space weather phenomena from top NASA scientists.
After 30 years NASA has finally retired its Space Shuttle program, and to commemorate and pay homage to the astronauts that went beyond the stratosphere the space agency has released AstroApp.
This one’s different to the rest in that it focuses on the people, rather than the cosmos and science. There are detailed mission entries, astronaut profiles and a Suit Me Up feature which mocks you up as an astronaut. If your heroes are astronauts, you’ll love this one.
If you’re a space junkie then you’ve got no excuse not to run your battery down with this haul of astronomic apps! Personally I can’t wait to see what NASA comes up with next – although a few Android versions of this lot wouldn’t hurt either.
What do you think of these NASA iPhone apps? Any that you absolutely adore? Let us know what you think in the comments below.