We are all feeling the financial pinch! Blue Plate Special is a weekly review of bargain apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Nothing over $.99.
What geek does not love space?!?! Over the past few months, my iPhone has gained a handful of apps for space enthusiasts. My 5 year old son and I love to sit and look at these apps to learn about the planets and solar systems. One night this summer he asked why we cannot look at space ships while we were looking at the stars using pocket universe. I did not really have an answer. NASA has come out with their own FREE app to follow current space missions.
The New Media Team at NASA Ames Research Center has developed the first NASA iPhone application to deliver up-to-the-minute NASA content directly from Agency sources in one easy-to-use mobile platform. The software makes extensive use of built-in iPhone features and usability to offer NASA information in a clear and intuitive way. The application aggregates and delivers a compelling range of dynamically updated information, images and video links.
The app is pretty straight forward. The home screen includes all available missions. Other pages on the bottom include images, videos and updates (Twitter feed).
Browse the available missions and click to go to the information screen. The mission screen includes a description and history of the mission as well as a mission clock. The International Space Station for example is counting how long the mission has been operating including the launch date and time. Upcoming missions include a count down clock. The Ares I-X mission was scheduled to launch today but weather postponed it. I was able to see the mission this morning but it has been taken off the list for now. Some of the missions include a mission orbit tracker so the exact spot over earth can be seen on top of Google maps. Clicking the icon picture on the top left opens a webpage from the app to explore the mission further.
Other options for the app include images which are found by clicking on the camera. There are many beautiful shots but I would like to have mission specific shots when clicking from a mission. The film strip includes YouTube videos that have been recently released by NASA and the other option is to view updates. The updates are from the official NASA Twitter feed. Updates come regularly throughout the day and are entertaining.
If you have any interest in space missions, this is a must have app. A slick interface along with daily information from NASA make it great for entertainment or educational purposes. Best of all, it is FREE!!! Go get the NASA app here in the app store.
What I like: Updated information on current space missions. The mission orbit tracker is really cool!
What could use improvement: Mission specific photos and videos would be great when inside a mission.