This app put the universe in my hands and now I can’t put it down

When I was growing up, NASA was this unreachable entity that I wanted to know more about. Much of what they did, at least to me, was shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Astronauts performed incredible feats as I watched in awe – the exact same thing that I saw happening with my son as well. When he made a rocket out of recycled materials a little while ago, he slapped a big NASA badge on the front of it. The generations roll on, but the love continues.

Recent years have seen NASA open its doors to the world in new and exciting ways. Children and adults alike are now treated to behind-the-scenes missions and adventures. Astronauts and engineers are put before audiences for podcasts, TV shows, and films. With unprecedented access, it’s an exciting time for space lovers to be alive.

All this amazing content is now available in one incredible app, which is simply called NASA. It is an absolute treasure trove of exciting and varied content, all centered around the world of NASA and it’s well worth a look.

Homescreen heroes

This is part of a regular series of articles exploring the apps that we couldn’t live without. Read them all here.

At the heart of it is a free video streaming service called NASA+ that collates all the video content from various NASA departments. There is live coverage, original on-demand series, one-offs, and videos organized by theme. Think of Netflix but where all the content is space-themed. Through all of this, it is possible to lift the lid on NASA and be treated to all its inner workings. If you’re remotely interested in space, you’ll probably find yourself drawn in and amazed at what goes on at the government agency.

It’s not just videos, though; my favorite section of the app is all devoted to images. With over 21,000 of the latest NASA images, there is no shortage of jaw-dropping photos to enjoy and it’s certainly got me hooked. It’s now possible to view images related to specific themes or see the latest ones.

(Image credit: Future)

Under each section of images, you can view all and that’s what I love to do. Swiping through images is best on a tablet, as it can be hard to appreciate the scale of these things on a phone. It’s no replacement for the real thing (being an astronaut in space or viewing the cosmos through a massive telescope) but much of this is beyond the reach of the average person.

The inclusion of captions helps to put photos into context and provides a level of education that you wouldn’t otherwise have. You can rate each photo based on how much you love it or favorite the best ones for easier viewing later. And if a photo particularly grabs your attention, sharing it is as simple as it is in any other app.

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(Image credit: Future)

The other part of the app where I find myself spending most of the time is in the ‘Missions’ section. Who doesn’t love a space mission? If Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, or Richard Branson have their way, I’ll make it into space at some point, but for now, I have to live that reality through others. It’s easy to do with content devoted to a range of missions, including Artemis, NASA’s plan to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon, as well as establish the first long-term presence there. You can also find out more about the James Webb Space Telescope and the Europa Clipper. What a collection of content!

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(Image credit: Future)

One of the most engaging parts of the app, especially for younger space enthusiasts, is the augmented reality functionality. With simple controls, even the youngest of users can visualize space models in their own environment. The level of detail is impressive, helping to ignite a sense of passion and wonder. I particularly enjoyed exploring the Curiosity (MSL) model. Being able to rotate and zoom in on the model is impressive but I would have liked to have been able to interrogate the model a bit further. Maybe we’ll see that in a future release.

Whether you’re interested in space or not, the NASA app opens up a universe of never-before-seen content. It’s great for all ages and has enough about it to keep you coming back time and again.

Download NASA app on iOS or we Android

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