NASA Launches Improved Spacecraft 3D App

NASA announced on Tuesday, July 5th, that is was launching an upgraded version of it’s Spacecraft 3D app for mobile devices to celebrate the second anniversary of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover’s historic landing on Mars. Furthermore, the improved content from the new app is integrated with a new book of images, published by National Geographic, pictorially telling the story of the Mars rover’s journey.

Features of the upgraded app

Spacecraft 3D is an augmented-reality (AR) app available for iOS and Android mobile devices. Augmented reality means the app is designed to overlay visual content, such as 3-D spacecraft models, directly onto the real-world view from a device’s camera. In order to view a specific item of content in the app, users can print a target image on a standard sheet of paper and point the camera from the mobile device at the target image, and the target image is overlaid onto the screen as if it were actually in the scene.

One cool feature of the upgraded Spacecraft 3D app is a manual mode that allows users to see and interact with the 3-D models without using the AR target. The 3-D models, including two newly added models of NASA Deep Space Network antennas, can be accessed by all users through the free app.

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The new and improved NASA 3D app offers four brand new 3-D models and allows users to see their favorite spacecraft anywhere with their mobile device’s camera.

The new book, “Mars Up Close: Inside the Curiosity Mission,” includes five models of NASA’s Mars exploration spacecraft and other technologies: Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Curiosity, Curiosity’s Descent Stage and MAVEN.

Statement from NASA Chief Technology Officer

“Spacecraft 3D makes it so easy for anyone to experience the magic of these spacecraft and the excitement of space exploration,” explained Tom Soderstrom, Chief Technology Officer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, home of the team where the improved app was developed. “We think the app will enhance the experience of learning about these missions, for all ages, for years to come.”

You can download the upgraded NASA Spacecraft 3D app here.