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About Space Apps for Android
Mobile space and astronomy: discover Android apps to learn about space exploration and the universe.

Space Apps for Android features reviews, tips, and news on Android apps, websites, and other mobile-friendly resources related to space and astronomy.

As an amateur astronomer and space enthusiast I have been following these apps since Android’s early days in 2009. From just a couple back then, astronomy and space apps grew in number and evolved along with Android.

This collection shares my experience and tips for using these apps better. Here's a trailer.

Do you develop space apps for Android?
https://plus.google.com/+PaoloAmoroso/posts/9aEsfGxcz39

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NASA app for Android adds support for podcasts
The official NASA app for Android remained the same for a while, then active development resumed and new features started being added again:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gov.nasa

Among the latest features is support for NASA’s space podcasts, released with version 1.74 on November 8, 2017.

In the app’s home screen tap TV and Audio and then Podcasts. Select a podcast episode by tapping its entry in the list. There’s only very basic control for podcasts, episodes start streaming as soon as selected and you can only pause or share them. So be sure to watch your data usage.

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The podcasts screen of the NASA app on my Nexus 6P phone.
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Visit NASA’s launch facilities with Kennedy Space Center for Android
Kennedy Space Center is the official Android app of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kennedyspacecenter.kscApp

It’s a useful resource for planning a tour and visiting this major and historical NASA launch facility as it packs a lot of practical information.

Price
Free

Feature
The app provides up to date information on and maps of KSC attractions, events, rocket launches, and schedules.

Usage
The main screen has a toolbar at the bottom with options for further screens featuring the KSC attractions, upcoming rocket launches, facility maps, events, and going back to the home screen. In each of the screens tap a thumbnail or heading for getting more information.

The app’s overflow menu includes the same options and a few additional ones such a settings screen for turning off push notifications.

Tips
In the Attractions screen be sure to tap the hearth icon of an attraction card you’re interested to save it to your favorites. To quickly reference the attraction later open the main menu and tap Favorites, which leads to the list of your saved attractions.

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The Attractions screen of the Kennedy Space Center app on my nexus 6P phone.
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Do you develop space apps for Android?
Do you develop space or astronomy apps for Android? If so feel free to post links to your apps in the comments.

I’m interested in astronomy and space apps available in the Play Store that are free, paid, or free and ad supported but with a paid option for removing the ads or a separate paid version with no ads. No ads-only apps please.

Please note I’ll delete any comments linking to unrelated apps that aren’t about astronomy or space or are otherwise irrelevant. No links to other science apps either, they’re cool but the focus here is different. If you love the attached image please just +1 the post, no need to comment.

From my first survey of the followers of this Space Apps for Android collection it looks like many of you are developers, so I’m curious what space-related apps you work on.

Space Apps for Android: 1st user survey results
https://plus.google.com/+PaoloAmoroso/posts/NYYLPnhGSpb

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute. Original image: https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA21046
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Astronomical ephemeris apps for Android
Ephemeris are tables or computations listing the positions and phenomena of celestial bodies. They were traditionally published in astronomical journals and magazines and now mobile devices make them available to anyone in a handy, interactive format.

Here’s a list of the ephemeris apps for Android I posted about among the many available astronomy ones. They let you view tables and charts of the positions of the planets, their rising and setting times at specific locations, the brightnesses and distances of the bodies, their orbits, and more.

Compute planetary positions with Sun, moon and planets for Android
https://plus.google.com/+PaoloAmoroso/posts/5MLdEWYpfbD

Plan your observations of the planets with Planetary Visibility for Android
https://plus.google.com/+PaoloAmoroso/posts/U3gfo9HZT5M

Plan your observations of Mars with Physical Mars for Android
https://plus.google.com/+PaoloAmoroso/posts/hWCF7BKNDEe

Follow the motions of the Galilean satellites with Moons of Jupiter for Android
https://plus.google.com/+PaoloAmoroso/posts/YCgNt8FNZ4X

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The ephemeris of Mars in the Sun, moon and planets app on my Nexus 6P.
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Follow spacecraft tracking activities with DSN Now
DSN Now is a website for following in real time the spacecraft tracking activities of NASA’s Deep Space Network antennas:

https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html

It’s a responsive website that works well on Android and other mobile devices.

Price
Free

Features
DSN Now lets you see in real time which antenna is tracking which spacecraft. In addition it provides data on the tracking parameters and the spacecrafts.

Usage
On your Android device, visit https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html with a browser app such as Chrome.

The home page summarizes the current activities of the antennas grouped by DSN site, with animations showing whether the antennas are receiving and/or transmitting. Tap an antenna to get more details on the tracking parameters.

In the resulting dialog there are buttons for viewing images of the antenna and spacecraft, and a map with the position of the DSN site. Tap +more detail to view additional tracking parameters.

Tips
When viewing an antenna details pane tap BACK TO TOP to return to the list of the antennas.

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The home page of the DSN Now website in Chrome on my Nexus 6P phone.
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Follow the motions of the Galilean satellites with Moons of Jupiter for Android
Moons of Jupiter is an Android app for computing and displaying the positions and events of the Galilean satellites of Jupiter:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=pl.bizcalc.jupitergalileanmoons

Some of the best memories of my early amateur astronomy days involve observing these moons and their mutual phenomena. To keep up with the moons’ motions and events I used to check charts and tables similar to the ones this app provides, but back then they were published in printed ephemeris and astronomy magazines.

I love the simplicity and effectiveness of Moons of Jupiter.

Price
Free, ad supported with an option for turning off ads

Features
Moons of Jupiter plots over time the positions of the Galilean moons Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto around Jupiter. It lets you advance time by variable steps or set a specific date. In addition the app lists the upcoming events such as eclipses and transits over the planet.

Usage
The upper portion of the main screen shows a view of Jupiter from the Earth at the current time with the positions of the moons. The rest of the screen features a chart plotting the positions of the moons over time and running downward.

Pinch to zoom.

The < and > arrow buttons let you go forward or backward in time by the amount specified in the time step selector between the buttons.

Tap the icon with the outward-pointing arrows to switch to full screen mode and show the direct view of the planet in landscape mode.

The 3-dots menu icon has options for setting a specific date and time, resetting to the current date and time, displaying a list of upcoming moon events, and changing the preferences. In the preferences screen you’ll find options for changing the default time step, changing the view mode of the direct view (e.g. to get an inverted or mirrored and reversed telescopic view), turning off the ads, or turning off the chart and moon labels.

Tips
Be sure to zoom all the way in if you set the time step to less than 30 minutes, otherwise you won’t notice any motion.

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The main screen of Moons of Jupiter on my Nexus 6P phone.
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Explore comet 67P with Rosetta Tour for Android
Rosetta Tour is an Android app for viewing a 3D model of the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko explored by ESA’s Rosetta mission:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.astrocardboard.RosettaTour&rdid=org.astrocardboard.RosettaTour

Although the app is designed for use with a Google Cardboard viewer, it works also without.

Price
Free

Features
The app shows the view of a 3D model of the comet seen from the Rosetta spacecraft, also in the view. In addition it provides a presentation with some basic facts and simulates the landing of the Philae lander.

Usage
In the main screen with a Cardboard viewer (stereo mode), move the device around to view the comet and the scene.

When the red light around Philae glows click the button to release the vehicle and make it land on the comet.

Click the the presentation cover to start a slideshow with basic facts about the comet and the mission. Click a slide to advance to the next.

You can use the app also without Cardboard by tilting the device left to switch the visualization to the mono view. The latter works the same way you use your device for watching 360° YouTube videos, i.e. move the device to explore the scene. Tap the red light to release Philae.

Tips
Even in mono view the rotating comet may make you feel a bit queasy, so tap the comet to stop the rotation.

The app works at full screen and the Android navigation bar can’t be seen, but it’s there and it works. To make the bar visible swipe down from the longest side of the screen.

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The Philae lander heading toward the comet in Rosetta Tour's mono mode on my Nexus 6P phone.
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Phases of the Moon for Android adds a news feed
Version 4.16.3 of the Phases of the Moon app for Android, released on August 6, 2017, added support for a news feed with updates and news stories about the Moon:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.universetoday.moon.free

Phases of the Moon is my favorite lunar phase app for its great surface textures.

How the use the news feed
To open the feed tap the megaphone icon in the main screen. Tap an item to open the corresponding news story. The items are basically just links to external websites. When news are available system notifications are issued but you can turn them off in the app’s settings.

The news are infrequent and so far there are basically just a couple of items, one of which on the August 2017 total solar eclipse.

See also
To learn more about the app see my previous posts:

Phases of the Moon 3.1 for Android is out
https://plus.google.com/+PaoloAmoroso/posts/7qpq6mfLehp

Phases of the Moon 3 brings hires lunar textures
https://plus.google.com/+PaoloAmoroso/posts/3UjJAeDcSUL

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The news feed of Phases of the Moon on my Nexus 6P phone.
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Space Apps for Android: 1st user survey results
My Google+ collection Space Apps for Android recently hit 200,000 followers and I thought it would be interesting to learn more about the users who follow it, so I posted a survey:

Space Apps for Android: 1st user survey
https://plus.google.com/+PaoloAmoroso/posts/8squVuUM4WC

My goal for this first survey was to focus on how users found about, access, and like the collection. I also wanted to keep it short and quick to take, with just half a dozen questions and no text to enter.

I got just 42 responses to the survey, which at best give a rough sketch of the follower base. The infographic summarizes the data, here are the original questions and my notes on the results.

How did you learn about Space Apps for Android
I don’t promote the collection outside of Google+ other than reposting to Twitter through Friends+Me, so it’s not surprising over 90% of the respondents learned about it from Google+. But there’s some buzz elsewhere as 9.5% learned about the collection from Facebook, 9.5% from blogs/websites, and almost 12% through other means.

How long have you been following Space Apps for Android?
About half of the respondents have been following the collection for more than a month. It looks like it’s getting a lot of fresh followers no doubt thanks to being featured on Google+.

How do you like Space Apps for Android?
Most of the respondents like the collection in some way and slightly over 7% don’t like it (so why do they follow?). The latter, along with those who do like it but don’t give it the highest rank, may have some feedback on how to improve the collection and this is an opportunity for a followup survey.

Over the past 30 days how many apps featured in the collection did you visit on the Play Store?
Over half of the user checked out at least one of the Play Store listings of the apps I featured over the previous 30 days. Interestingly, 28% only consumed the posts without checking out more information about the apps.

Over the past 30 days how many apps featured in the collection did you install to your device?
66.7% of the respondents installed at least one of the apps featured in the collection over the previous 30 days and 9.5% more than 4 apps, remarkable. There’s enough engagement even with no calls to action.

Do you have an Android device?
I expected not all the followers to have an Android device and indeed 14.3% of the respondents don’t own one. I assume this is because astronomy and space are popular geeky interests.

Are you an Android developer?
I also expected some of the followers to be Android developers but not so many, 28.6% of the respondents.
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