App of the Month: Spacecraft 3D

Spacecraft 3D uses animation to show how spacecraft can maneuver and manipulate their outside components. Presently, the app features two NASA missions: the Curiosity Mars rover and the twin GRAIL spacecraft Ebb and Flow currently orbiting the Moon. Spacecraft 3D is among the first augmented-reality apps for Apple devices. Augmentedreality provides users a view of a real-world environment where elements are improved by additional input. Spacecraft 3D uses the iPhone or iPad camera to overlay information on the device's main screen. The app instructs users to print an augmented reality target on a standard sheet of paper. When the device's camera is pointed at the target, the spacecraft chosen by the user materializes on screen.

Spacecraft 3D also has a feature where you can take your own augmented- reality picture of the rover or GRAIL spacecraft. You can even make a self-portrait with a spacecraft, putting yourself or someone else in the picture. The detailed computer models of the spacecraft used in Spacecraft 3D originally were generated for NASA's "Eyes on the Solar System" Web application, a 3D environment full of NASA mission data that allows anyone to explore the cosmos from their computer.

To download the free Spacecraft 3D app for iPhone and iPad, visit http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/spacecraft-3d/id541089908?mt=8

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