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). 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. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.