There is no doubt that there are some amazing sights in the universe and NASA has spearheaded the exploration of space and brought many of them to the public’s attention. Now you can experience and explore the vastness of space with an amazing free app on your computer - NASA’s Eyes. It is stunning and brilliant.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been amazing us for over 50 years with its missions into Earth orbit, visiting the moon, then on to the asteroids, inner and outer planets and moons. One mission has even left the solar system and is in interstellar space!
Yes Voyager is now beyond the extremities of the solar system and is heading out into the galaxy.
The thrills keep on coming and only recently NASA wowed us with an incredible flyby of Pluto. This gave us a close-up look at this minor planet or dwarf planet and scientists will be analysing the images taken for years to come.
NASA’s Eyes is a fantastic app that is free from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and it lets you experience what it is like to travel the solar system and beyond. Go and download the app and then install it on your Windows PC.
Eyes on the Earth
Run NASA’s Eyes and there are three modules, the first of which is Eyes on the Earth. This is a bit like NASA’s version of Google Earth and you view the planet from somewhere out in space. It rotates below you and the speed can be adjusted to make it quicker or slower, or even real-time.
There are various satellites orbiting the Earth and you can see their location and path. Clicking them displays information about their activities, such as why they are there and what they are doing, such as monitoring the climate, measuring solar radiation and so on.
The 3D animated view of the satellite and the Earth rotating below is great. There is actually a real 3D view that works with those cardboard glasses with red and blue lenses.
You can view all sorts of things from space, from wildfires to national parks, to temperature variations. It is brilliant.
Eyes on the Solar System
The Eyes on the Solar System module provides an overview of the solar system from something like a billion miles out. You can see the planets orbiting the sun and clicking one enables you to fly there and zoom in for a closer look.
There is a simple and an advanced interface, and in advanced mode there are many panels where you can experiment with the date and time, your speed, access visual controls and multimedia.
The planet rotates in the window and you can view it from any angle and zoom in and out. If you spot a moon in the background, you can fly there and zoom up close to that too. It is superb.
You can fly around the solar system viewing planets and moons up close, so close you can make out individual craters and geological formations. There is a lot of information about everything you can find and it is not just a visual treat, you will learn a lot about the bodies in our immediate neighbourhood.
Eyes on Exoplanets
In the last few years we have discovered that other stars in our galaxy have planets, just as ours does. The Eyes on Exoplanets module enables you to explore these and like the other modules, it is packed with information.
You can fly to these exoplanets and view them up close. It is simulated of course, because we can’t actually see them with an optical telescope, but it is a best guess based on what we know about them.
Exoplanets can be viewed by size, you can see the latest discoveries, extreme exoplanets, where they are located in the galaxy and more.
Space is big, really big and a fun widget enables you to discover how long it would take to get there by car, train or plane, assuming you could. The answer is fascinating.
Space, the final frontier...
NASA’s Eyes is a superb app for anyone with an interest in space exploration. You don’t need to be a serious fan and even if you don’t know much and have only a slight interest in what NASA is up to, you will find this a fascinating app to explore.
The information in it is downloaded from the internet and it is bang up to date. Some parts of the app showed images and data that was just a few days old. Get the app, you will love it.