New NASA app gives preview of deep space missions

NASA has developed a new interactive 3D app that can allow avid space explorers reach the launch pad of space missions – virtually.

Smartphone and tablet users can experience the excitement of standing on the launch pad beneath NASA’s massive new rocket, the Space Launch System or SLS, with the app that previews the starting point for the journey to Mars.

The app works by pointing the device up to see to the top of the rocket, or holding level to see the details of the solid rocket boosters and engines, NASA said.

No matter where the user is, opening the scene viewer portion of the app shows what the device’s camera would see if it were at the launch pad with the huge SLS rocket setting up for liftoff.

These views won’t exist in real-life until NASA sends SLS carrying an Orion spacecraft to a distant retrograde orbit around the Moon as the agency pioneers deep into space, but gives users a taste of what the powerful launches will entail.

Called NASA 3DV, for 3-D view, the inventive app shows viewers 3-D models of the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System, the fixtures of NASA’s push to send astronauts on deep space exploration missions to an asteroid and eventually Mars.

The app also shows virtual models of the crawler transporter that carried the Saturn V moon rockets and space shuttle to the launch pad and is on tap to take the SLS and Orion on the same trip.

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