<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/00_astronaut.jpg”>Have you ever stared at the starry night sky and wondered what’s out there? Outer space has been the object of human curiosity since the beginning of time. While we’re still eons behind the Star Trek age, we’ve already made quite a few steps in our journey into space. Spaceships and satellites have moved from the science fiction realm into the real world. Plus thanks to the modern technology, you don’t have to go to space to be able to explore the space. Now you can do it from your iOS device.
NASA, one of the pioneers in space exploration, has released a free NASA iPad app which:
“… collects, customizes, and delivers an extensive selection of dynamically updated mission information, images, videos, and Twitter feeds from various online NASA sources in a convenient mobile package.”
Prior to releasing the iPad optimized app, NASA had already released the iPhone version of the app (check out Tim’s post from yesterday about this). However, thanks to the bigger screen size, you’ll have a better exploring experience with the iPad version.
First time users will get a notification saying that there will be links to standard webpages with Flash videos and features. Translation: some of the contents are not viewable from the iPad.
You’ll see our solar system on the main screen of the app. You can tap on one of the items to see a more detailed explanation of it. Knowing our solar system better is the first step towards space exploration.
For example, I tapped on Earth and then I was presented with all the scientific facts and explanation about the blue planet. Aside from the Sun and the planets, there are also details about the moon, asteroids, comets, and meteors. Exploring our solar system alone will keep you busy for a very long time.
If you are interested in the ISS – the International Space Station, you can tap on the globe icon to see the list of times for the best ISS sightings. The app will automatically detect your location on earth (although in my experience, it’s not really accurate) and give you the sighting list accordingly.
You can tap on the phone icon to share the sighting list to fellow ISS enthusiasts via Twitter, Facebook and Email.
Next to the globe “ISS sighting” icon is the “News” icon. You can browse many kinds of news related to NASA and space exploration, from a specific topic like “Shuttle And Station” to the more vast topic like “Universe“.
If you have a plan to visit one (or more) “NASA Centers”, you can see a map of their locations by tapping the NASA Centers icon next to the News.
Beside “NASA Centers” is the “Shuttle And Rocket Launch Schedule“. We can see from the schedule that NASA is quite busy.
If you are a man-made space objects enthusiast, you will find the icon after “Launch Schedule” exciting. This is where you can see details about NASA satellites.
For example, there’s a story about Aquarius – a satellite that will be launched in June 2011. This satellite was built to measure global Sea Surface Salinity. You can see hundreds of photos about the satellite. There are also a few videos about it.
You can also find more details, along with tens of thousands of pictures and a hundred videos, about the International Space Station. It’s amazing to see how far our space technology has come.
…And There’s More…
If all the things we’ve discussed above are not enough, there is more. At the lower part of the main screen, you can find menus to access other materials such as NASA’s image of the day.
If you are a wallpaper lover, you should already know that along with National Geographic, NASA is one of the best sources to get beautiful images for your desktop wallpaper.
There is also NASA TV, videos, tweets, and featured articles that you can explore and enjoy.
So, if you are an iPad owner who loves the topic of space explorations, you have to download the free NASA iPad app. It provides you with a vast amount of information related to the world beyond our tiny blue planet, and our effort to study outer space.
Have you tried the Nasa iPad app? What do you think about it? Do you know of other sources to virtually explore outer space? Share your knowledge using the comments below.
Image credit: NASA