Visit Mars on your Windows Phone with these great apps

Mars Attacks!

With NASA’s successful landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars late Sunday night (it was streamed live on the Xbox 360) we figured we would mention a couple Mars tie-ins for your Windows Phone and even your Xbox in case you wanted to get in on all the action.

While there aren’t an overwhelming amount of Mars-specific apps for Windows Phone there are a couple that stand out to get you in the mood...

NASA – Be a Martian

This freebie is officially put out by NASA and has even been endorsed by them during the Curiosity landing. The app is full of unique features that will keep you busy for hours and it has four main areas: View, Participate, Learn and Explore.

  • View is a simple image viewer containing some of the latest images on the Red planet. It’s fairly basic (can’t zoom in or share) but it will keep you busy. It also has videos like ‘exploring mars’ and ‘building curiosity’ which are well done.
  • Participate has an Intro, Tags Mars and Count Craters sub-areas which allows you to actually help NASA ID things on the planet using your phone. Very cool stuff. You simply go through images and tag items you see with pre-defined categories.
  • Learn gives you a What’s New section for NASA’s latest news, Ask a Question in case you needed to know something and Mars Quick Facts gives you all the truth about our distant planet (Warning: our app crashes here for some reason).
  • Explore is like Bing Maps but for Mars. Need we say more? You can pan and zoom all around the planet using satellite images, tapping on regions with unique features with a detailed description.

Overall, NASA’s - Be a Martian is one cool app for Windows Phone and we encourage all science nerds out there or those just curious about Curiosity to go and grab it here in the Marketplace. (Thanks, Karl, for the tip!)

In case that app isn’t enough for you though, you’ll want to check out these space extras:

Mars Rover Landing – Only on Xbox 360 with Kinect (free (opens in new tab)). Why not pretend to be NASA on your Xbox 360?

“How hard is it to land on Mars? Test your skills! Your mission: guide NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity to its landing site safely and on target. Use your body to direct the craft and control thrusters as you descend. Gain avatar gear and achievements for a safe landing. The rover’s success depends on you!”

Space Weather – Available on Windows Phone. While it won’t give you the weather on Mars it’s one of the coolest space apps around. See our earlier report for more info. (Marketplace - $0.99)

Mars Runner – We reviewed this freebie back in May of 2011 and it’s still kicking around. Featuring some fairly snappy 3D graphics, the game features your ship cruising around at break-neck speeds around the red planet, dodging obstacles along the way. Tap and hold the screen for some ‘slow mo’ effects keeps the game feeling fun. While it may get a tad boring, it’s fun for a freebie and will keep you in the Mars mood. (Marketplace – free)

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • I get an error code when I try to download the "NASA Be A Martian" app on my Nokia Lumia 900. :-(
  • Try again? Soft reset and try again? Probably just a Marketplace error.
  • That worked for me when I got the error. Thanks.
  • Thanks. Soft resetting several times ..
  • Not getting it to install on my 900.  Error at 50%.
  • Is it error #code c101b000? I recently got that with every app i try to install. Seems to be a major problem in the marketplace for ALL apps at the moment. It's hopefully resolved soon...
    If you really want to install an app, just try again and again, it will eventually work, at least it did for me.
  • This is great. I watched the landing live (east coast time) was up until almost 3am. It was fascinating to watch. I had a live view multi webcast. (watching more then one feed) over 230k people watched. I'll be watching for updates about Curiosity, added nada to my fb, and curiosity to my twitter. And mt current WP wallpaper is the mars landscape from the rover (first colored one) yesterday was the very first pic they sent the b/w one. I also love space weather bought that app awhile ago. Learning about space is exciting, and not its only going to get better.
  • Sounds great.
  • Meant to say NASA, not nada. Obviously.
  • What would have been more cool would have been to watch the live stream on my windows phone, either via an app or on the nasa website, but no joy.
    Nasa only optimize their video for ios and android via html5 that doesn't seem to support windows phone. so frustrating. I do windows phone 8 solves all this. I thought windows phone had a ustream app!
  • Mars will never support human life. Don't know why we keep wasting money on this that could've been spent on helping the inner cities.
  • Meh. The inner cities will never support human life either.
  • You obviously missed the segment in the pre-landing show where discussed how NASA and science helps kids in the inner city.
  • That was a canned response
  • Maps without traffic information or street view are useless!