This augmented reality Apollo 11 iPhone app is delighting space fans

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has harnessed the power of augmented reality (AR) and combined it with the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing mission.

As well as projecting images of rockets onto national monuments, the museum has created an iPhone app to let space fans recreate the launch themselves.

The app recreates the full timeline of the Apollo missions and lets users relive history in their own homes. It uses your iPhone’s camera to superimpose the Saturn V rocket onto your back garden or lets you land the Lunar Module on your coffee table.

The ‘Apollo’s Moon Shot AR’ goes alongside a six-part TV series of the same name that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the incredible mission.

‘It makes the landing more interactive, and it allows people to bring the Apollo program into their own experience.’ said Teasel Muir-Harmony, a curator at the National Air and Space Museum.

According to the Smithsonian, the app’s developers used 3-D scans of Neil Armstrong’s space suit and of the Lunar Command Module, which placed the astronauts on the moon, in order to authentically replicate the feeling and the scale of the landing.

In addition to walking on the moon, the app allows users to simulate the mission takeoff and charts the Apollo’s path through the moon’s airspace. Two games, ‘The Moon Shot Challenge’ and the ‘Lunar Landing Challenge,’ tests users’ ability to guide a safe landing through a lunar terrain dotted with boulders and craters.

And the app seems to be delighting space fans who are posting videos recording through the app to Twitter.

‘One of the things that people don’t always realize is how many details were involved in a program like that, how many new technologies had to be developed, and how many people had to work together to make it all possible,’ said Muir-Harmony.

‘The series and the app do a wonderful job of exposing people to the complexities of that program.

‘It’s exciting for us to be able use augmented reality to give people more access to the artifacts in our national collections.’

You can download the app for yourself here.

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