This afternoon I happily watched the launch of the Atlas V rocket carrying Curiosity, the next generation Mars rover. Viewing it live, I was utterly dismayed at an interruption in the live stream at the exact moment of liftoff. By the time the stream resumed, the rocket was punching through clouds. Augh!
Fortunately, we live in a time of instant replays and unbelievably fast posting of videos. So while Curiosity was zipping along, dropping in and out of data contact before its final fuel burn and separation, NASA obligingly filled the time by showing the launch from over a dozen different cameras. So cool.
Every time I watch one of these, I am amazed all over again that I can sit in my home in Portugal and watch the live launch of a space vehicle in Florida. And now we don’t even have to use our computers. Did you know that NASA has apps for the iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch? I’ve no idea how these got by me, because NASA released them a month ago, but they’re excellent apps. They include NASA TV, mission launch schedules, overhead sighting opportunities for the ISS, and both the NASA Image of the Day and the Astronomy Picture of the Day image libraries. And, of course, videos.
So I installed the app on my iPad and watched the launch all over again. It looked even better the second time around.