iPhone app delivers daily ASU Mars camera images

Jun 18, 2010
Explore Mars with your iPhone using images from the THEMIS camera on NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter.

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new free app delivers daily images of Mars to your iPhone from an ASU-designed camera on-board NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter.

Feel a buzz in your pocket? That's Mars calling your iPhone.

Thanks to a new — and free — iPhone app, users can have images of Mars delivered daily to their device. The images come from an Arizona State University-designed camera on-board NASA's orbiter, and they include every kind of feature there is on the .

The iPhone app is available through the iTunes website.

The app comes from Kate Gordon-Bloomfield, a software developer and codirector at LittleCollie Ltd. in the U.K. A programmer for about 10 years, she said, "I became interested in developing software for Apple's mobile platforms after getting an iPhone and MacBook Pro." She wrote the app on weekends and evenings.

Gordon-Bloomfield is also a self-described "complete space nut," adding, "I have always had an interest in space exploration. I even went to space camp when I was in my teens."

From Mars to you

The camera providing the daily images of Mars is the Thermal Emission Imaging System, or THEMIS. It was designed by Philip Christensen, Regent's Professor of geological sciences in the School of Earth and , part of ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

A multiband instrument, THEMIS makes images of Mars at infrared and visible wavelengths. Its latest accomplishment is the completion of a global portrait of Mars at a resolution of 100 meters (330 feet). Besides being available through the iPhone, the THEMIS images of the day are accessible on the web at themis.asu.edu/image_of_the_day . The site also has links categorizing the Martian features by type.

On beyond iPhone?

Choosing to create an app for the iPhone was a natural, said Gordon-Bloomfield, a graduate of ASU who majored in religious studies.

"The , iPod touch and iPad are a great market," she said.

The Blackberry? Maybe not so much. "While the Blackberry has a large user base," she said, "its primary focus is enterprise-tier business users. I don't see the THEMIS app as meeting their needs."

What about the Android? "The Droid's a budding platform," Gordon-Bloomfield said. "If its market percentage increases, this app would make a great project for that platform."

Meanwhile, Gordon-Bloomfield is weighing updates. "I've been thinking that loading the images could be improved by loading a lower-quality image initially and then loading higher and higher quality and detail as the user zooms."

Call it Red-Planet-in-Your-Pocket.


• PhysOrg.com iPhone / iPad Apps

Explore further: Computer model shows moon's core surrounded by liquid and it's caused by Earth's gravity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Find your own place on the Red Planet

Jun 15, 2009

Arizona State University researchers and scientists have created two new features for Google Earth 5.0, the popular online application that lets users tour Earth, the starry sky, and the Red Planet Mars.

Mars image marks THEMIS milestone

May 14, 2007

The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) aboard NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter marked a milestone May 4. An image from THEMIS showing Martian lava flows and wind streaks mingling with impact craters, became ...

New from NASA, an iPhone application

Oct 23, 2009

NASA is coming to the iPhone. The US space agency announced on Friday that it has created a free NASA application for the popular Apple smartphone and the iPod Touch.

Recommended for you

Titan offers clues to atmospheres of hazy planets

22 hours ago

When hazy planets pass across the face of their star, a curious thing happens. Astronomers are not able to see any changes in the range of light coming from the star and planet system.

Having fun with the equation of time

22 hours ago

If you're like us, you might've looked at a globe of the Earth in elementary school long before the days of Google Earth and wondered just what that strange looking figure eight thing on its side was.

The source of the sky's X-ray glow

Jul 27, 2014

In findings that help astrophysicists understand our corner of the galaxy, an international research team has shown that the soft X-ray glow blanketing the sky comes from both inside and outside the solar system.

User comments : 0