Nasa launches new free iPhone Lunar Rover app

Nasa has produced a new free iPhone app that allows users to be part of their own space mission to the moon, officials said.

The interactive game, called Nasa Lunar Electric Rover Simulator, is an interactive game for the Apple iPhone where users are given an insight into what it could be like to support lunar mission.

While driving a Lunar Electric Rover during their Lunar Outpost, users can perform various tasks to support the mission including transporting supplies to and from various points, blogs say.

Based on an astronauts’ experience, users also have to closely monitor their power consumption while navigating around the moon's hazards.

The game, released on Monday by space officials and based on the agency’s video pod cast show, Nasa Edge, also comes with an interactive gallery.

The free application, developed by the Analytical Mechanics Association at the Nasa Langley Research Centre, in Hampton, Virginia, is available through the iTunes store.

“We wanted to make this a cool game instead of an app where you just retrieve information,” Chris Giersch, the host of Edge, told Wired magazine.

“We thought about going hi-tech and going really jazzy, but for this first version, let’s just keep it basic.”

Mr Giersch said the Rover was based on the prototype tested at the Black Point Lava Flow in Arizona.

It would have been part of a planned lunar outpost under the former Nasa Constellation solar system exploration plan, he said.

The apps’ blurb adds: “You don't need a driver's license, but you still need to buckle up as the LER Simulator gives you a glimpse of what it might be like to support the activities of a functioning Lunar Outpost.

“Get busy. You never know if your skills here will become a major part of the Nasa Astronaut application process in the future.”

It is the latest technological initiative released by Nasa, which is one the leading government agencies to try and engage in new media.

It regularly uses Twitter and other iPhone apps including payed-for iRover, which allows users to explore the moon's surface.

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