July 27, 2011
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or much more commonly referred to as simply NASA, typically sparks thoughts of outer space, space shuttle, space exploration, astronaut, and other items that involve science beyond on our planet. With the shuttle program ceasing, the organization looks to highlight its other and ongoing accomplishments that relate to analyzing Earth through the new NASA Visualization Explorer app for iPad. NASA Visualization Explorer is a news and reference app to spotlight intriguing articles about NASA's cutting-edge technology and research that helps in our current daily plans and assists in making critical decisions for the future. These short articles touch on anything from weather models that help meteorologists provide up to 10-day weather forecasts to how much carbon plants are absorbing. In addition to the headline image, some articles contain multiple photos and brief videos, consisting of documentaries, time lapsed data presentation, etc. Change articles with a quick swipe left or right on the headline image, tap the left or right arrows, or pick from the list by tapping on the bottom-leftmost button. Tap the up arrow below the headline image to show the article text and additional media. As you likely have guessed, all of this is possible by utilizing the numerous satellites deployed by space shuttles over the decades, the massive International Space Station project, research labs with rooms filled with supercomputers, and on-site observations to provide the most accurate results and models through intense data assimilation. Thankfully, NASA Visualization Explorer is a free app, because it does have a couple obvious bugs for the launch release. As pointed out in some iTunes reviews, the close button for the instructions screen is unresponsive. If you happen to visit the instructions area, you'll need to close the app and use the fast app switcher -- double click the Home button -- to fully quit the app by doing a tap and hold on any of the icons, and then tapping on the minus symbol for NASA Visualization Explorer. There is another characteristic I consider to be a bug. All of the article text is about 100pt font size. Granted, you can see it very easily, but having only a few words per line makes it a bit frustrating to read. I've double-checked my Accessibility settings, reinstalled the app, and checked the app's settings in a failed attempt to correct this. Could it be an iOS 4.3.5 issue? I'm testing the app on an iPad 2 running iOS 4.3.5. None of the issues I came upon take away from the very interesting content of NASA Visualization Explorer, and it remains worthy of checking out. Feel free to share a comment if you've experienced the aforementioned or other problems with the app. NASA Visualization Explorer is compatible with iPad running iOS 4.3 or later, and available in the App Store as a free download.
NASA Visualization Explorer