The landing of NASA’s Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars enthralled the population last month. It also got many people excited about NASA’s amazing space missions once again. To keep track of how Curiosity is doing, and keep current on all the news about various space exploration missions, check out these Android apps.
NASA App (Free)
Captain Obvious, we know, but seriously, there’s no better app out there for space news, especially as this unmanned Mars rover was launched by NASA. This app delivers stunning imagery, mission info, video and live streaming of the NASA TV feed. It’s a fantastic way of ensuring you’re up-to-date on all that Curiosity discovers. This app is worth keeping on your smartphone even when the mission is complete.
Mars Map (Free)
Mars Map, from ATLOGIS Geoinformatics, is a useful app for those who want a better idea about the geography of the mysterious Red Planet. This 2-D map is fully interactive, using Mars Digital Imaging Map 2.1 (MDIM), and you can even search a database of the planet’s features. To discover where NASA’s Curiosity rover landed, just search for “Gale” – the landing area is in the northwest corner of that crater.
Planet’s Position (Free)
While there are many more in-depth star chart map apps in Google Play, we choose Tim Gaddis’ Planet’s Position because it keeps things simple and only shows you where the planets (Mars included!) in our Solar System are. Using Planet’s Position in conjunction with other news sources and apps, you’ll be able to observe the night sky and point out exactly which twinkling heavenly body is Mars itself. That is sure to impress the kids! Keep the app handy next time there is an eclipse too – it can calculate when and where it will be visible.
NASA Be a Martian (Free)
This app from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory may help pique younger children’s interest in the Mars rover mission because of its high level of interactivity. It offers a number of ways to get more involved including photos and news, behind-the-scenes features, videos of people running the missions and the opportunity to ask questions. The app is a nice accompaniment to NASA’s website which lets you be a “virtual tourist” on the Red Planet.
Yep, at first glance, I thought this was merely a clock for your Android home screen that uses a nice image of Mars. But how wrong I was! Instead, Mars Clock by Scott Maxwell is an alarm clock that lets you see times for all three of NASA's Mars rovers – Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity. You can even set alarms in Martian time so you’ll always know what time it is on the Red Planet especially if you want to watch some coverage on NASA TV at a specific time.