NASA has developed two new amazing apps that let you explore your universe without leaving your bedroom. The apps have been released to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the launch of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.
The incredible discoveries and images created by Spitzer are the driving force behind the new NASA Selfies app and NASA's Exoplanet Excursions virtual reality app. The NASA selfies app lets you capture a photo of yourself in a virtual space suit in front of one of many incredible locations like the Orion Nebula or the center of the Milky Way galaxy.
Choose your favorite space background to share with friends
The app is really easy to use. Simply take a photo of yourself, choose your favorite background and then share to social media or with friends. The app also offers the opportunity to learn about the images.
The app currently offers more than 30 images taken by Spitzer. NASA has indicated they will offer more locations options in the future taken by other science and human spaceflight missions.
Take a tour through space with NASA and Oculus
You’ll need access to an Oculus or Vive to get the full experience. The app is available from the Spitzer mission website.
In the future, it will also be available from the Oculus store. If you can’t get access to VR, a 360-degree video is also available on the Spitzer Youtube page that allows viewers a similar tour via their home desktop, smartphone or 360-degree viewer like Google Cardboard.
TRAPPIST-1 is an exoplanet system that hosts seven roughly Earth-size planets. The Spitzer telescope has played an important role in finding these planets and is an integral tool in gathering more information about the system.
The TRAPPIST-1 system is too far away for telescopes to directly observe these planets, but the VR experience of the app provides artists' impressions of what the planets might look like. These impressions are based on data collected by the Spitzer and other telescopes that have studied the TRAPPIST-1 system.
The app navigates users around five of the seven planets with faint stars in the background. NASA had previously stuck to the educational when creating apps and resources but now seems to be looking to reach larger audiences with the launch of these two apps.
While both have an educational angle, their main purpose seems to be more about fun and introducing the wonders of our universe to broader and younger audiences.