As a child, you must have dreamed about becoming an astronaut. Or at least, buying a telescope. Did those dreams vanish like space dust? Now thanks to NASA and private companies like SpaceX or Blue Origin, our spacefaring instincts have revived. We are going to Mars, and we will re-visit the Moon soon.
It’s a good time as any to update yourself on the latest rocket launches, have fun with a SpaceX game, and gawk at a few beautiful space posters. Go boldly forward with these five apps and sites.
1. 321 Launch (iOS, Android): Rocket Launches in AR
SpaceX launched a Dragon capsule that docked with the International Space Station. To and fro journeys from our outpost in space sound humdrum, but there’s a lot that happens behind the scenes. Go through the entire rocket launch experience with this beautiful AR app from USA Today.
321 Launch uses augmented reality to give you a front row seat to a rocket launch. The app takes you inside with live video coverage and commentary. You can follow the flight path with an AR hologram rocket that mirrors the mission.
Take an AR tour of the launch pad area and see how a rocket is assembled. Round it off by controlling a rocket launch in a fun interactive AR experience.
2. Space Launch Schedule (iOS, Android): Stay on Top of Rocket Launches
SpaceX is on course to launch more rockets in a year than all other countries combined. There are a slew of apps that keep you notified of current and future launches happening around the world. Space Launch Schedule is a simple app for both iOS and Android that comes well recommended.
The app covers launch sites all around the world. Stay on top of the schedule and watch the launch videos live as they happen. The apps also list info about launch sites, rocket stats, and specific mission details.
And if you want to block time on Google Calendar to watch an event, just tap on the calendar icon to add rocket launch events to your calendar.
3. Exoplanet Travel Bureau (Web): Take a Trip to Alien Worlds with NASA
Exoplanets are planets beyond our own solar system. NASA has its plans in place for exploring as many exoplanets it can with the Exoplanet Exploration Program (ExEP). The program will seek to discover and understand the nature of these planets with astronomical observations and later missions. And perhaps discover alien life.
You can watch the fruits of the research with the Exoplanet Travel Bureau. Tour six alien worlds in 360 degrees of panoramic glory. Enjoy them on your computer, phone, tablet or using a virtual reality headset. The virtual tour of space includes planets like TRAPPIST-1d which orbits two stars.
The renderings are based on a set of retro-futuristic posters and artists’ imagination. You can also download high-resolution posters of these destinations for your devices or for print. They aren’t travel adverts yet, but who knows about the future!
4. Visions of the Future (Web): Pick Up These Brilliant Space Posters
If you are a space nerd, then there will be a few posters hanging on your wall. Some of us can also blame it on Isaac Asimov’s book covers or Flash Gordon comics. This little corner of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory brings back waves of nostalgia.
Of course, the collection of 14 posters are also modern but they were inspired by the retro look of the old WPA posters. Each poster celebrates a particular space theme. For instance, the poster called “The Grand Voyage” is a tribute to Voyager’ 2’s journey to the four outer planets.
All posters are available for free download in PDF and TIFF formats.
SpaceX offers a few beautiful Mars-themed posters. The poster pack will pinch you at $30 per set. As an alternative, you can head to their Flickr gallery where all high-resolution photos are in the public domain.
5. SpaceX Falcon 9 Lander (Web): Land a Rocket in this Simple Game
SpaceX did one thing really well. It made a reusable rocket that could land on its own. That’s where a lot of cost savings comes from as the booster is the largest and most expensive part of a rocket. But it’s hard to land a descending rocket on a rocking drone platform in the middle of an ocean. How hard? Find out with this game.
You might bang the space bar too hard. Play the SpaceX Falcon 9 Lander game in your browser. This is a free retro-style video game created by a user of MIT Media Lab’s Scratch project.
It’s a fan-made browser game that is just great for those times when you are bored online.
Space Can Be Educational and Fun
Billionaire’s like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Sir Richard Branson have started a new Star Wars. But thanks to the web and that many apps on your phone, learning about planets, galaxies, and cutting-edge developments is easier than before. Start your dreams by looking up at the night sky. If you need some help, there are excellent astronomy apps to tell you what’s out there.