If you want to take a virtual tour of planet Pluto as NASA’s New Horizon’s nears its historic flyby of the dwarf planet, you can download a free app called Pluto Safari. The new app provides an interactive experience of the epic mission through the heaps of data and images the spacecraft had beamed back to Earth during its journey.
Pluto Safari is developed by the makers of ‘SkySafari 4,’ a fully interactive astronomy app that won several prizes.
On July 14, New Horizons is expected to perform the first flyby of Pluto in human history. The probe had performed other flybys of the Moon and Jupiter. The data collected at that time will be available for you to explore in Pluto Safari as well.
The app will also provide you with sharp images and 3-D models of the Solar System and the remote dwarf planet. Additionally, you will be able to explore on a 3-D platform the entire spacecraft.
Moreover, you can follow the timeline of the mission and better understand where it had been and what it had done since its initial launch in January, 2006, while keeping an eye on the current date and time displayed on the status bar.
Pluto Safari can display the exact location of Pluto on the night sky by calculating your exact position. The night sky can also be explored via a drag-and-drop function if you want to look for other space objects.
The app’s developers promised that they would provide updates every time New Horizons transmits new data. The programmers that worked on the 3-D model of the probe were from the Simulation Curriculum, a company specialized in educational software for K-12 and college students, while the ones that created maps of Pluto and its largest moon Charon were from the Southwest Research Institute, a non-for-profit applied research group.
Developers explained that the maps were designedbuilt by analyzing data from Hubble, but they expect to have a “real” map of Pluto from the images New Horizons will take very soon. Nevertheless, the computer generated maps of the dwarf planet are extremely accurate and eye pleasing.
The app’s Solar System Simulator can help you get a quick grasp of the mission’s milestones, while also provide you with an interactive guide to Pluto and its moons.
Plus, Pluto Safari allows you to express your vote in a poll against the 2006 downgrade of Pluto’s status to dwarf planet.
You can download the app for iOS from App Store on iTunes, or from Google Play if you are looking for Android version.
Image Source: Universe Today
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