Official NASA iPhone app is far more than just a stargazing tool

Screenshots of the official NASA app
(Image credit: NASA / Apple)

NASA app icon

(Image credit: NASA / Apple)

iPadOS / iOS  Free

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In a world where content is now king, few organizations have at hand the incredible treasure trove of images, video and information and artefacts that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration can boast.

The great news is that a great deal of that archive has been put to great use with the official NASA app which gives users access to a wealth of fascinating information about the U.S. space program and astronomy.

The app brings together the agency’s video archive plus all new 4K footage, over 19,000 still images, plus easy access to its live broadcast platform NASA TV.

There’s also podcasts, 3D models and access to some particularly impressive augmented reality tools.

Somewhat understandably given the amount of content available, navigating around previous iterations of the NASA app often felt as arduous as a mission to Mars, but a recent fairly major overhaul has made finding what you want a far more pleasurable experience.

An incredible archive of images, video and 3D models

The new streamlined main page has a news carousel at the top, with the rest of the app’s content accessed from six separate categories: Images, Videos, Tweets, Features and Missions, Schedules and Sightings and TV and Audio.

The latter section offers a handy way to access NASA TV’s live feed, allowing users a fuss-free way to tune in to coverage of launches, spacewalks, news conferences and more.

While it won’t beat Night Sky for presentation, the NASA app also features a built-in stargazing tool, allowing you to identify constellations and receive heads-up alerts for when the ISS is in your vicinity.

The features section meanwhile houses the app’s impressive multimedia offerings, featuring some pretty cool 3d renders of NASA hardware as well as Spacecraft AR, an augmented reality experience that lets you put virtual 3D models of NASA's robotic space explorers into any environment with a flat surface.

A superb learning tool for space-mad kids as well as older users. everything in the sprawling app is offered for free, with no in-app purchases to stop anyone from boldly going on their own star trek. 


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Kevin Lynch

Kevin Lynch is a London-born, Dublin-based writer and journalist. 

He started out as a music writer in the late 1990s, before moving to the Daily Mirror to become the newspaper’s technology editor, during which time he wrote a weekly column that saw him chart the boom of consumer tech and gaming as well as the resurrection and rise of Apple Inc. 

He has also served as editor of and has been a member of the judging panel for the BAFTA British Academy Video Game Awards.