Space Stories June 22, 2016

Space fans with 4th-gen Apple TVs are in for a treat, as NASA has released its popular app on the platform. It was already available for iOS, Android and Fire OS, but this is the first time you’ve been able to access it directly on your Apple TV.

You get live streaming NASA TV, including a real-time view of the Earth from the International Space Station, as well as on-demand access to over 10,000 NASA videos and more than 15,000 photos, either individually or as a slideshow.

If you want to get more closely involved, the app has that covered too …

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Space Stories August 7, 2015

We shared yesterday that Apple’s newly released fifth developer beta version of iOS 9 adds a new collection of colorful, Retina showcasing default wallpapers for the iPhone. Settling on a new wallpaper, or in this case a whole set of gorgeous imagery, usually mean development on the operating system itself is wrapping up ahead of a public release sometime the following month.

For non-developers and iPhone users not risking stability on their daily driver in favor of new eye candy and features, though, the several week waiting period for iOS 9 to be finalized and released ahead of the new iPhone 6S can make waiting to try those new wallpapers frustrating. To remedy that, we’ve shared downloadable versions of each new wallpaper below so you can sport the iOS 9 look on your iPhone without the occasional bugs that accompany beta versions of iOS: expand full story

Space Stories July 13, 2015

NASA’s Mac (and PC) app lets you join New Horizons spacecraft on its Pluto flypast

The low bit-rate forced by the extreme distance of the New Horizons spacecraft from Earth means that live video isn’t feasible, but a new Mac and PC app from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory offers the next best thing. The app provides a simulated view of what New Horizons is doing, and allows you to preview the flypast.

While the view is simulated, it uses realistic data to show you what it would be like to track the spacecraft in real or accelerated time, including a “live” mode to show you what New Horizons is doing right now.

Visit the Eyes on Pluto page to install the helper app, then return to the page and click the Launch button to open it. It opens in live mode, and you can click the Preview button to skip ahead, adjusting the time using the buttons at the bottom of the screen.

Via TNW

Space Stories August 11, 2014

A MacBook and a few parts from eBay allow hobbyists to take control of an abandoned NASA spacecraft

A MacBook, a flatscreen monitor rescued from a dumpster, a few parts bought on eBay and an abandoned McDonalds as a base may seem a reasonable basis for a hobbyist electronics project of some kind – but taking control of an abandoned NASA spacecraft might feel a little ambitious. Not so, says a team of nine geeks who have successfully taken control of ISEE-3, a spacecraft launched by NASA 36 years ago to measure the solar wind and radiation. The story of what has to be a strong candidate for coolest thing ever is told in full in BetaBeat.

The satellite’s battery has been dead for over 20 years, but it had solar panels to power 98 percent of the satellite’s full capabilities. In its heyday, it ran missions around the Moon and Earth, and flew through the tail of a comet. But technology gets old, and everyone happily let the successful satellite go, knowing it would be back in Earth’s orbit someday — namely, 2014.

Since the satellite went offline, the team had retired, the documentation was lost and the equipment was outdated. They could still hear the satellite out there talking, but they’d need to build the equipment to talk back.

They did have a few more expensive requirements, like a helicopter to lift a transmitter into place, but a crowdfunding campaign took care of the costs. There was then the small matter of getting permission from NASA, no doubt helped by one of the team being a former employee.

They brought the idea to NASA, but there was no precedent on which to base an agreement. No external organization has ever taken command of a spacecraft, but NASA didn’t want to say no, so they asked the team if they needed any help.

Astonishingly, they’ve now successfully placed the craft in a new orbit around the sun, and Google has helped them build a website that will be used to share data transmitted back from it – appropriately enough named Spacecraft For All. The full story is well worth a read.

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