UpFront

App of the Month: Moon Tours

Moon Tours is the mobile version of the NASA’s Lunar Mapping and Modeling Portal (LMMP), a repository for over 600 geospatial lunar data products and imagery. These include digital elevation maps, slope maps, rock and hazard maps, mineralogy maps, and imagery from the Apollo missions to the latest data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). Users can calculate the distance between two locations on the Moon, search for the names of features such as craters and hills, and view lunar terrain data rendered in real-time 3D. Free for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/moon-tours/id696977262?mt=8

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NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission: A Step to Mars

NASA’s proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission will robotically capture and then redirect a small asteroid into a stable lunar orbit, where astronauts can safely visit and study it. The asteroid could remain in place for several decades, allowing NASA and its partners to conduct scientific investigations and develop capabilities for deep-space exploration.

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App of the Month: Earth as Art

In 1960, the United States put its first Earth-observing environmental satellite into orbit around the planet. This app celebrates Earth’s aesthetic beauty in the patterns, shapes, colors, and textures of the land, oceans, ice, and atmosphere. Download the free app for iPad from iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nasa-earth-as-art/id577527077?mt=8.

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Robot Prize Competition Opens

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, MA has teamed with NASA on the $1.5 million 2014 Sample Return Robot prize competition. Planned for June 2014 at WPI, teams will compete to demonstrate a robot that can locate and retrieve geologic samples from varied terrains without human controls. Teams that meet all competition requirements will be eligible to compete for the NASA-funded $1.5 million prize.

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Celebrating Curiosity and Looking to 2020

Last month marked the first anniversary of Curiosity’s landing on Mars. In last September’s issue, we talked with members of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) science and engineering team about what they hoped to find on Mars, and how the various technologies and instruments on Curiosity were expected to work. This month, we revisit the MSL team and find out if their expectations are on track, what Curiosity has found in a year, and how the dreaded “7 Minutes of Terror” turned into a perfectly executed touchdown on the Red (or so we thought) Planet. (More about that in our feature beginning on page 14.)

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App of the Month: Be a Martian

The Be A Martian app lets you experience Mars as if you were there. See the latest mission images of the spacecraft and those returned from the Red Planet, learn about Mars and all the active missions, ask a question about Mars, get up-to-the-minute news, and check out behind-the-scenes videos featuring people on the missions. Free for Android, iPhone, and Windows phones. Visit http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mobile/info/ for download information.

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Shape-Changing Smartphone Morphs When Called

Researchers at Queen’s University in Canada developed the MorePhone smartphone that can morph its shape to give users a silent yet visual cue of an incoming phone call, text message, or email. With MorePhone, users can leave their smartphone on the table and observe visual shape changes when someone is trying to contact them.

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