App Description: You can view up-to-date images of Mars taken from the Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity rovers with the free app Midnight Planets! The info icon will allow you to select by destination, so you can view hundreds of photos from past locations. Some images are color, some are black and white, and the resolution varies since the rovers have many different types of cameras. You can also view the images from certain destinations as a panorama. It’s never a perfect panorama, but you can select various pictures that make up the panorama and zoom in closer.
How we use it: Most commonly is when facilitators use it with our microscopes in the Life Hall or Earth Hall as we explore what types of rocks are on Mars. Visitors check out various rocks with and without microscopes or hand lenses and they compare to the Mars images from the app. Facilitation could be done with printed images, but we would have to keep printing the images as they became available, and we couldn’t do the panorama. But I feel the importance of doing the demonstration with the app is because it provides and easy and free way to stay connected beyond the museum. This app does a great job of meeting the public where they are.
A few more cool things:
- The home screen has a “news” section to help you stay connected even more with the missions. This has been helpful for the staff to stay up-to-date too!
- The app also lets you cache photos. This is great when WiFi is not working well, just pre-cache a bunch and head out on the floor.
- This app pairs up nicely with Science on a Sphere (SOS).