Ok, I admit it I am a Star Trek fan. The series offered a very positive view of the future in contrast to many sci-fi stories where a dystopian view of the future is usually the theme. For me, developing the Interactive Solar System Explorer was a lot of fun. In recent years so much new information has been discovered about our solar system. Robotic explorers are investigating many of the mysteries of Mars. Probes have been sent to explore the outer planets and have sent back amazing images.
In designing the interface for the Interactive Solar System Explorer, I wanted to make it look like you were looking out the view screen of a spacecraft. Lights flash and the stars whiz by as you travel from one planet to another.
Initially the view screen shows the sun. It zooms up into view as the app launches.
Tap buttons to select the planet that you wish to explore and then hit to red power button to ‘warp’ through the solar system. When you arrive at your destination you can access information about the planet by tapping the icons at the bottom of the view screen. The information available by tapping icons includes: mass of the planet, distance from the sun, the diameter of the planet, the length of a day in Earth days, and the length a year in Earth years.
Tap the info icon to bring up detailed information about the planet and to read about recent discoveries.
Charts and graphs are used to present comparison information.
In designing this app I wanted to motivate elementary age students to learn more about the solar system. It is my intention that by using the Interactive Solar System Explorer on an iOS device or Apple TV teachers will be able to engage students science related activities that they will enjoy. The tvOS version of Interactive Solar System Explorer offers the same great features as the iOS version, and additionally can be controlled using tvOS compatible game controllers so maybe the kids will think they are playing a video game or even piloting a spaceship.
Interactive Solar System Explorer is available with a volume discount for educational institutions. Interactive Solar System Explorer is available worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store. It also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of Interactive Solar System Explorer. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program. Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.
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