Did you know that astronauts on the International Space Station see 16 sunrises and sunsets every day? That's because it only takes the space station around 90 minutes to orbit the Earth going t a speed of 17, 895.5 mph. It also travels west, taking into account the planet's rotational direction.
Want to learn more about the ISS? NASA has an app for that.
Called the Space Station Research Explorer, the official mobile app for the ISS features current information on experiments and facilities, detailing research results through in-depth descriptions, interactive media, photos and videos. To present information with ease, the app is split into four sections: Experiments, Facilities, Benefits and Media.
The Experiments section highlights the six main categories of experiments and their corresponding subcategories. Within a category, experiments are represented by dots, with stems connecting the dots to the system depicting how long a certain experiment has been in orbit. To simplify looking for an experiment, a search option is also available. When available, publications, links and images are included as well in descriptions to provide as much information as possible.
As for the facilities section, it offers a closer look at three of the modules on the space station, Destiny, Kibo and Columbus. Once a module is chosen, an image is shown which users can navigate through by dragging up, down, left and right to see its different sides and view racks not visible on the screen. Tap a rack and a brief description pops up. If available, an experiment description will also be shown.
The Benefits section essentially spotlights what the International Space Station means for people on Earth, divided into subsections on Human Health, Global Education and Earth Benefits. Those wondering what's the point of having a space station in the first place will find this section useful.
The last section, Media, includes three tabs: Videos, Games and Podcasts. All are meant to complement information provided in the other sections, helping tie together the experience of not just using the app but learning about the ISS.
Space Station Research Explorer is available for iOS and Android devices.
The ISS is a collaboration involving NASA, the European Space Agency, the Russian Federal Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. It cost more than $155 billion to make, built from 1998 to 2011 to accommodate a crew of six and a range of scientific experiments.