NASA Launches iPhone and iPad app to Study Spacecrafts in 3D

Author: Usman Zafar Paracha
Published: July 12, 2012 at 5:52 am

NASA has announced the new iPhone and iPad application, dubbed Spacecraft 3D, to show various NASA spacecrafts in 3D animations. By using augmented reality (AR) utilizing the iPhone and iPad camera, the app will help the space lovers to get to know how spacecraft moves and manipulates its external parts.

At this time, the app features two missions i.e. the Curiosity rover that will reach the surface of Mars by August 6 and both GRAIL spacecraft, called Ebb and Flow, orbiting the moon at this time.

"With Spacecraft 3D and a mobile device, you can put high definition, three-dimensional models literally into the hands of kids of all ages," said Stephen Kulczycki, deputy director for communications and education at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.

"Let's say you want to get an idea what our Curiosity Mars rover is all about," said Kevin Hussey, manager of visualization technology at JPL. "Like Hollywood directors sizing up their next shot, you move your camera-equipped iPad or iPhone in and out, up and down and the spacecraft perspective moves with you. It is a great way to study the 3-D nature of NASA spacecraft."

Users can also print the AR target of the screen taken by camera on a standard sheet of paper. There is an additional feature in the app that will enable the user to put him or her in the picture i.e. “self-portrait with a spacecraft.”

"In the near future, we will incorporate the Cassini spacecraft, which is orbiting Saturn, the Dawn spacecraft, which is deep in the heart of the asteroid belt, and the Voyagers, which are right now at the very edge of our solar system," said Hussey. "Looking down the road, we've got a veritable solar system full of spacecraft to work with."

At this time, the app is available for Apple’s devices only but according to NASA, other versions for different platforms will be available in the future.

Image Credit: iTunes App Store


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Article Author: Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha has been blogging in science and technology for more than 6 years. He is CEO of Email: Twitter: @jeepakistan

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