10 Best Space-Focused Apps

10 Best Space-Focused Apps

Though it might be more often thought of as a distraction from the wonders of the night sky, smartphones and tablets have the potential to enhance a person’s appreciation of what lies beyond the earth’s atmosphere. Getting the most out of it requires downloading the right apps, however.

From apps focused on bringing users the latest space news to ones that shed a light on the objects in our solar system and even the stars outside it, there are tons of amazing space-focused apps out there for Apple and Android devices. These are some of the best of what’s available.


The NASA App Provides A Huge Amount Of Space Content

Available On Android & iOS (Free)

New and images features in the NASA smarphone app

When it comes to free space-focused apps, there’s one that no space enthusiast should be going without and that’s NASA’s very own smartphone app. Not only is it free, but it provides so many images, videos, news on missions, and more that every other space app pales in comparison.

RELATED: The Biggest Space Discoveries Of The Last Decade, Ranked

Whilst it mainly provides the latest features from the top space agency, it’s also a great resource in general, providing information and diagrams on all the planets in the solar system and more. Even for someone that simply enjoys seeing stunning images from space, the NASA app is the best on the app store.

My Moon Phase Provides Detailed Info On Earth’s Satellite

Available On Android & iOS (Free)

Some information about the moon in the My Moon Phase app

There’s no need to look far into space to find something fascinating to learn about and that’s why one of the best space-focused apps is limited in scope to providing information on earth’s unique satellite, which NASA recently chose to revisit with Artemis I. My Moon Phase – Lunar Calendar does exactly what its name suggests, telling the user about the current phase in the moon’s cycle.

With an easy-to-read UI and tons of bonus information that most users probably didn’t know they needed, My Moon Phase makes learning about the moon intuitive and fun. The moon is one of the few objects in the night sky that doesn’t require a telescope to view which, along with this app being entirely free, makes it one of the most accessible ways to interact with space.

Sky Map Helps Identify Objects In The Night Sky

Available On Android (Free)

An image of the night sky alongside a diagram on the Sky Map app

One of the difficult parts of amateur astronomy can be working out what exactly the planets, stars, and nebulae appearing in the night sky actually are, but Sky Map can help make identifying them easier. A former Google project, Sky Map is described as a “hand-held planetarium” and it fulfills that promise in style.

As a free app, there’s also no reason not to download Sky Map simply to explore what’s out there. Although some users have had issues with calibrating the app and there’s no official version for Apple devices, it still remains a great way to enhance the stargazing experience.

TerraGenesis Is A Unique Way To Explore Space

Available On Android & iOS (Free)

Logo for the Terragenesis app with a picture of a planet in the background

Whilst real-life space exploration is fascinating in itself, with the recent Artemis mission as well as more talk about a future manned mission to Mars currently dominating the topic, it can feel a bit limited in scope. Luckily, there are space-focused apps that allow the user to let their imagination go a little wilder.

RELATED: 10 Best Ted Talks About Astronomy & Space Exploration

TerraGenesis – Space Settlers is centered on the premise of searching for desolate planets beyond our solar system and making them inhabitable through terraforming. It might sound far-fetched, but it boasts a basis in real science from Nasa and makes for an interesting way to learn about the factors needed for a planet to sustain life.

Solar System Scope Lets You Play With The Solar System

Available On Android & IOS (Free Or $2.49 For Premium)

The solar system as seen in the Solar System Scope app

For anyone that loves playing around with models of space, Solar System Scope puts the entire solar system in the hands of the user and gives them complete freedom to explore. Easy to use and full of impressively detailed models, Solar System Scope is an educational tool that’s tons of fun too.

Whilst there are plenty of great astronomy apps for finding planets, Solar System Scope goes in-depth in teaching the user more about them and showing how they interact. Though it’s free to download, paying a small extra amount also unlocks higher-quality textures and removes ads.

Satellite Tracker Reveals What’s Orbiting Earth Right Now

Available On Android And IOS ($0.49/Month Subscription)

An advert for the Satellite Tracker mobile app

Although the distant reaches of space are fascinating, sometimes knowing what’s going on much closer to home can be just as interesting. Apparently, a lot of people thought so too, as Satellite Tracker boasts over 10 million users that have been hooked by the idea of following the man-made objects orbiting the earth.

Satellite Tracker lets the user know when the International Space Station will be passing above and provides information on where selected satellites are in the sky as well as where they will be. The app is free to download and trial but does require a small subscription fee to keep using.

Sky Tonight Can Be An Amateur Astronomers Best Friend

Available On Android & iOS (Free Or $0.99/Month For Premium)

The night sky with a smartphone showing the Sky Tonight app

From the same company that developed satellite tracker, Sky Tonight is a comprehensive guide to what’s taking place in the night sky and so much more. Similar to Sky Map, it can be pointed at the sky to identify a certain object, but it can also provide detailed information on it and its trajectory.

There’s an augmented reality mode, a Time Machine feature that can show how celestial bodies change over time, and the ability to filter objects by brightness for a more focused view. A detailed calendar and the ability to set reminders mean it can ensure the user doesn’t miss any important celestial events too and even weather conditions are taken into account.

NASA’s First Woman Is An Immersive Graphic Novel

Available On Android & iOS (Free)

Someone interacting with NASAs First Woman app

Though their central app is far more popular, it’s more than worth checking out some of NASA’s other offerings for smartphones and tablets including this charming graphic novel experience. NASA’s First Woman tells the story of Callie, a fictional astronaut living on the moon, and highlights the technology that could one day make it possible.

RELATED: 10 Best Apps For Comic Book Readers & Creators

What really makes the app stand out is that it’s an XR experience, utilizing Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology to make the story that much more immersive. For a free offering, it’s impressive that it provides such an intriguing educational experience that can’t be found elsewhere.

Spaceflight Simulator Is A Fun Way To Play With Rockets

Available On Android & iOS (Free)

Rockets detaching from a spacecraft in Spaceflight Simulator

There are tons of great video games set in space but few of them are exactly realistic and even fewer are available as smartphone or tablet apps. Luckily, there are some exceptions and that includes the much-imitated Spaceflight Simulator app, which allows the player to build a rocket and attempt to get it into space.

With a basis in real-life physics, orbital mechanics, and a realistically-scaled solar system, Spaceflight Simulator is an opportunity to learn about why spacecraft are built the way they are, but it’s also just good fun. There are some expansions and the full bundle is $11.99, but the base game is free to play.

SkyView® Lite Makes Stargazing Even Better

Available On Android & iOS (Free Or $2.99 For Premium)

A constellation in the night sky in an advert artwork for the SkyView app

Another stargazing app that’s great for identifying celestial objects and has gained a ton of popularity in recent years is SkyView. Like SkyMap and Sky Tonight, it can be pointed at the night sky to identify objects but its simple and appealing UI makes it stand out from the others.

With an AR mode, a Time Travel mode, and the ability to use the app offline when disconnected from Wi-Fi, SkyView is more than a rival for the best stargazing apps and its intuitive design may help it win out for some. At $2.99, the full version is also reasonably-priced and comes with plenty of bonus features.

MORE: 10 Biggest Moments In The Space Race