NASA App

Na­tional Aero­nau­tics and Space Ad­min­is­tra­tion. Avail­able for the iphone and ipad. Free.

Air & Space Smithsonian - - Reviews & Previews -

WHEN YOU CON­SIDER that NASA is re­spon­si­ble for op­er­at­ing dozens of space­craft in Earth or­bit, so­lar or­bit, and other parts of the so­lar sys­tem, as well as build­ing new manned and un­manned space­craft, I think the agency has done an ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic job of keep­ing the pub­lic in­formed through their web­sites and so­cial me­dia. It is no sur­prise, then, that they would also try pub­lic out­reach through an app, one that fea­tures mis­sions, im­ages, videos, tweets, TV and ra­dio broad­casts, news, and their var­i­ous cen­ters. Ba­si­cally, the NASA App in­cludes ev­ery­thing the agency pub­li­cizes through all the me­dia out­lets. And that may be the prob­lem.

While ev­ery­thing seems to be in­cluded, most of the in­for­ma­tion is pre­sented with lit­tle con­text and lit­tle or no ref­er­ence ma­te­rial. For ex­am­ple, when you go to the im­ages sec­tion, you see a list of in­ter­est­ing pic­tures that are com­pletely un­re­lated to one another. Press the play but­ton, and the cap­tions go away so you no longer know what you’re look­ing at. The other sec­tions are equally un­framed. A true space fan will en­joy all the in­for­ma­tion, but for ac­tual sub­stance, you will need to go to the NASA web­site.

BOB CRADDOCK IS A GE­OL­O­GIST AT THE

NA­TIONAL AIR AND SPACE MU­SEUM’S CEN­TER

FOR EARTH AND PLAN­E­TARY STUD­IES.

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