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NASA News

NASA Releases Cool, Free iPhone App 47

Posted by Soulskill
from the iplanets-and-imoons dept.
lenehey writes "A new free iPhone app provided by NASA was released today. The app lists each of NASA's missions, and allows you to see a brief description, the latest news updates, images, videos, etc., corresponding to that mission. A timer is also provided for each mission, logging the days, hours, and seconds until (or since) the mission launch."
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NASA Releases Cool, Free iPhone App

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  • by jmknsd (1184359) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @01:02PM (#29857615)

    Until Apple bans it because they want to carve their logo into the moon, and can't support a competing application.

    • by Minwee (522556)
      With any luck, Steve will only get as far as "CHA" before he gets thwarted.
      • Welcome to my friends list, fellow "The Tick" reader/watcher. (Which is it, out of curiosity?)

        • I'm not Minwee, but I discovered The Tick long before they aired the show. Best. Villains. Ever. Besides, who can not love a nigh invulnerable super hero that... well, let's face it, isn't really sure he's in the same headspace with himself half the time?

                Wulfe

    • by Godji (957148)
      The fact that you have (correctly) been modded Insightful instead of Funny is depressing.
  • There's an app for that.

  • The mission orbit tracking screen (available for some missions that are in orbit around the Earth, like the International Space Station), shows the current orbit position of a selected spacecraft.

    How am I supposed to avoid hitting them if it only shows "selected" ones? The app isn't of much use if I have to go back to my computer to find the others.

  • Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stepdown (1352479) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @01:21PM (#29857757) Journal
    What part of this couldn't be achieved with a website? Is there really any reason to be developing iPhone apps for a service like this rather than letting us all use it?
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

      by c_forq (924234) <forquerc+slash@gmail.com> on Saturday October 24, 2009 @01:51PM (#29858017)
      Publicity and exposure. Making into the top apps is basically free advertising to everyone with an iPhone AND everyone that reads tech sites (and maybe mainstream news in the next few days). Do it as a webpage and it will probably only make a buzz on tech sites and the crawl of 24 hour news channels.
    • by rekees (1420453)
      None; there are good space and aero news feeds on the web. Apple should get on track with making the basic iPhone features useful to people in the industry; for example, we can't even use the iPhone as a pager since its audio notifications are too short. Of course we can break into the phone and make them longer if we care to swallow the iPhone dev hype. The coolest feature about this app is where a spacecraft is, right? Who cares? If one flies or knows how to track a bird they know where it is using much b
    • Is there really any reason to be developing iPhone apps for a service like this rather than letting us all use it?

      Yes - if this had been "just another NASA website", it wouldn't have garnered anywhere near as much press attention.

      For some reason, creating something that only a tiny proportion of the population can see creates a far bigger buzz than creating something universal - providing, of course, the tiny proportion in question is "iPhone owners".

    • You don't ask: What kind of iPhone specific technology and coding advantages (remember:NASA) made this app available on iPhone while other smart phones having same capabilities (even J2ME big screen!) existing for years?

      That is one hell of a question we Symbian, J2ME and possibly Windows Mobile users are asking every single day. Of course, Nokia, Sun, MS should ask it themselves first. It seems Nokia got what was wrong and trying to change its attitude but it will take months/years to overcome "Symbian is h

    • Because all of this is already offered in NASA's website?
    • by acoustix (123925)

      This is true of 99% of the iPhone Apps out there right now. Almost all of the functionality of these apps already exist on a website.

      But for some reason it's cooler to waste time looking for the apps on Apple's site, downloading/paying for it, and then searching for the icon among your hundreds of icons on the screen.

  • How long until someone releases a "We Didn't Really Land on the Moon!" App?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm curious if they include the faked missions as well.

    • by dotgain (630123)
      I'm going to check now because I'd be quite surprised if there wasn't already one.
      • by dotgain (630123)
        Okay, while I haven't found one specifically about the Lunar Landings (in the NZ/Australia app store) there is one (cr)app called "Conspiracy Video!" for NZ$1.29 covering many uhm, 'debated' events in history, the Lunar Landings, JFK, 9/11 of course, and even up to the minute coverage with Michael Jackson.

        Like I said, I fully expected by now someone would have made a Moon Landing Hoax app by now - I was close - perhaps nobody has, perhaps Apple won't let it fly.

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          On second thought, I'm also surprised that there isn't one already. Maybe they blew the budget on tinfoil hats.
  • ... they release this as the shuttle is about to be permanently retired, with no similar replacement due anytime soon. Granted we will still be sending plenty of astronauts up in rockets, but I suspect the shuttle launches generally drew more public attention.
  • NASA Press Release [nasa.gov]: 'Making NASA more accessible to the public is a high priority for the agency,' said Gale Allen, director of Strategic Integration and Management for NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate in Washington. 'Tools like this allow us to provide users easy access to NASA information and progress at a fast pace.' Apple Insider [appleinsider.com]: 'New study shows iPhone users to be in a class by themselves'.

  • Gosh, am I glad they're not mine: I would be mightily pissed off, a web site would be accessible by everyone, not just an elite, and if the IS a website, the app is redundant.

    • Gosh, am I glad they're not mine: I would be mightily pissed off, a web site would be accessible by everyone, not just an elite, and if the IS a website, the app is redundant.

      Wow. You've never really develop complex website or client server applications have you? A website and client server app like the iPhone can feed off the same raw XML data and image store and just present the data in a different form. You don't really think that they type out those pages each day straight into the HTML file do you? They could be running a server URL rewrite command in the config file that takes any request for a flat file HTML file and presents that request back to a CGI script which then r

  • How long until someone writes a distributed computing app like this where the "main function" uses little CPU but uses a lot of time (like reading does).
  • by mhollis (727905)

    Now I can look for water on the Moon -- from my iPhone!

  • Ease up, naysayers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HisMother (413313) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @01:51PM (#29858011)
    To everyone posting to say that "It should be a website!1!!": It is a website, [nasa.gov] of course -- or rather, all this info is already available on NASA's website. NASA has a fabulous web presence, and has for a long time. The iPhone app just makes selected information available in a nice form-factor for mobile. Could this have been done as WAP pages, so Blackberry/Android/whatever users could see it? I guess, sure, but it wouldn't be as nice as the iPhone app. It's an experiment, guys. Not wasteful, not elitist. Lighten the hell up.
  • Surely NASA shouldn't be showing favouritism to Apple in this way, by only releasing the app on one platform?
    • by ultrabot (200914)

      Surely NASA shouldn't be showing favouritism to Apple in this way, by only releasing the app on one platform?

      Don't count out the possibility of "marketing money" exchanging hands.

    • App must be getting its data from some site, possibly in XML form (too tired to run Wireshark). They could make the API available to any developer wanting to make an application like that with basic (non apple like) guidelines.

      That could prevent a lot of questions. They are lucky that I am not an American tax payer. I would have some real questions to them and people in charge.

      • by c6gunner (950153)

        I'm sure they're real worried about your real questions. Why, the thought of getting angry e-mails surely has them shaking in their boots.

        • Look to BBC Website comments on every single stupid technical change they propose. British start the sentence with "I am paying my license fee." If you pay taxes, you have paid for that iPhone/iPod application too.

          Of course, enjoy your passive, slashdot comment mocking, that is what they trust while making an exclusive for a single brand's closed platform.

          • by c6gunner (950153)

            Look to BBC Website comments on every single stupid technical change they propose. British start the sentence with "I am paying my license fee."

            Yep, they're a bunch of self-important jerkoffs, just like you.

            Of course, enjoy your passive, slashdot comment mocking, that is what they trust while making an exclusive for a single brand's closed platform.

            Yes They are in league with Them to brainwash the sheeple! I bet this app won't track the Chemtrail missions, and the CIA mind-control satellites! The Truth Is Out There ....

            • by Ilgaz (86384)

              Those "self-important jerkoffs" prevented BBC from launching MS Silverlight/DRM based iPlayer. It seems like they know their rights better than you and it sometimes helps to remind those bureaucrats who is the boss.

    • Surely NASA shouldn't be showing favouritism to Apple in this way, by only releasing the app on one platform?

      Are you saying that the android cannot just use the website? The problem with Android is that it is not popular and it is not as easy to develop for. There are over 30 million iPhone/iPod Touch devices out there that can take advantage of this application. How many Android devices are out there in use?

  • Reminds me of some great software from the late 80s/early 90s by the late Dave Ransom. JPLClock made its way around the BBSes pretty rapidly, and was one of my favorite pieces of freeware.

  • from that description, it sounds like a website. Why bother making a whole app when the web browser already exists, and it's open and standard?

  • by PPH (736903) on Saturday October 24, 2009 @09:04PM (#29861225)

    ... we can turn on director's comments, view the storyboard, alternate endings, deleted scenes, bloopers, etc.

  • Why the sales pitch? The app is from NASA isn't it, and this is slashdot right? A headline like that, on this site, makes me not trust it at all...

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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