Want To Live On Mars Time? There’s An App For That

Screenview from Mars Clock, available from the Apple Store, that displays Mars time.

You’ve listened to all of JPL’s Curiosity telecons, you can recite the nail-biting sequence of events during MSL’s “Seven Minutes of Terror,” and you’ve devoured thousands of pixels of image data beamed back to Earth. But are you ready to live on Mars time? With a couple of well-timed apps from Google Play and Apple’s app store, you can.

MarsClock, available for Android devices at Google play is a free app written by Scott Maxwell, rover driver for Curiosity. The app, which has been downloaded between 1,000 and 5,000 times, lets you see times for all three of NASA’s Mars Rovers, Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity. The app allows the user to set single alarms or alarms that repeat every sol. A sol is a full Martian day which is about 24 hours, 39 minutes in Earth time.

Perhaps you shun Android devices for your Apple device whether it’s an iPhone, iPad or iPod. Never fear, you too can be everyone’s favorite Martian living on Mars time. Mars Clock, by SunlightAndTime, is a 99-cent app that displays Mars time and a host of other Mars time goodies. Features include local mean solar time for the rover, coordinated Mars time, sunrise and sunset times for the Curiosity landing site (I think this might be the coolest feature), current season, a countdown to landing feature (which is counting up since MSL landed on Mars on August 5th), current Earth time, a distance calculator between the Earth and Mars and radio communications delay estimate.

While it might be hard to add 40 minutes to your day to live as a Martian or as the JPL team that operates the Curiosity rover, these apps sure do make it more fun.

Enter the Universe Today “Wonders of the Universe” Contest!

The iPad app features seven apps in one, all of which are linked 3D environments to explore: Subatomic, Atomic, Local Stars, Solar System, Milky Way, Galaxy and the Universe.

If you’ve seen the excellent BBC/Science Channel series “Wonders of the Universe,” you know that host Brian Cox’s natural enthusiasm for astronomy is nothing short of infectious. His explanations of far-out concepts bring the mysteries of our Universe down to Earth for everyone to understand… and now he and HarperCollins UK have brought them even closer — right to your iPad.

Now, here on Universe Today you can win a free copy of the app as well as a signed copy of his Wonders of the Universe or Wonders of the Solar System hardcover book!


Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe is designed for people with any level of understanding of astronomy, from casual explorers interested in the aesthetics to those looking for a deeper educational experience. Users can travel with Professor Brian Cox on his personal tours through the Universe, or jet off on a solo voyage of discovery through the planets of the Solar System to local stars and onwards through the galaxy.

Additionally, the app takes full advantage of the extensive capabilities of the new iPad, using a powerful 3D engine capable of handling high-resolution textures and complex animations created exclusively for iOS5.

Watch a personal tour of the app given by Prof. Brian Cox above.

Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe is available on the iTunes store now for an introductory price of $6.99 USD… or you can enter for a chance to win a free download along with a signed copy of a Wonders of the Universe or Wonders of the Solar System hardcover book (four of each are available!) by emailing [email protected] with subject line “Wonders App”.

Be sure to put your mailing address in the body of the email, and we will randomly select 8 winners to receive a signed book (our discretion) and a download code for the app.

The contest is open to all U.S. residents. One winner per mailing address. Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery of the books. Winners will be chosen by June 10, 2012.

These are beautiful books that are chock full of information about our Universe as well as signed by Brian Cox himself… don’t miss out on a chance to get one!

Wonders of the Universe and Wonders of the Solar System books (HarperCollins UK)

Also, be sure to check out the latest app from HarperCollins UK, Fragile Earth. It uses amazing satellite imagery from all across the planet to put a century of climate change at your fingertips. It’s currently available from the iTunes store for $2.99 USD.

(App downloads and books provided courtesy of HarperCollins UK and Walker Sands Communications.)

Updated Exoplanet iPhone App

Screenshot of a new exoplanet app for iPhone and iPad.


Just in time for the announcement yesterday of the multi-planet solar system discovery, and an upcoming exoplanet announcement by the Kepler team comes a new version of a free exoplanet app for iPhone and iPad. We got a note from Hanno Rein, who developed “Exoplanet,” and who just finished his PhD in astrophysics at the University of Cambridge. “It lists all discovered extrasolar planets with a lot of background information, many visualizations and animations,” he said. Other highlights include an easy search and filter for the database, real telescope images of the host star, visualizations of the orbits and the habitable zone, interactive 3D size comparison to our own solar system and much more.

With all the exoplanet news lately, “Exoplanet” is updated daily and push notifications are sent out whenever a new planet is discovered (although they can be turned off if you don’t want to get notifications). Pretty much everything known about any exoplanet is included, such as physical parameters, along with various visualizations and background information, which make this exciting subject accessible for a wider audience.
New for version 3.9 are direct links to planets and planetary systems, links to other planets of the same multi-planetary system have been added, and you can now link from any e-mail or website directly to this application by using a URL form of the exoplanet, for example, ://Fomalhaut

Rein developed this app while a student, and wanted to keep it free (knowing how hard it is to be a poor student!) so there are ads on the app. But a non-ad version is available for only $.99 USD.

I don’t have an iPhone or iPad (yet!) but Fraser does, and he said the Exoplanet app is very cool!

For more information, or to download, find Exoplanet at the iTunes Store.