Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Earth or Not Earth

Earth or Not Earth
Earth or Not Earth is a new Android app for testing your knowledge of planetary features.
Image Credit: NASA with annotations by Cosmoquest.
Earth or Not Earth Game
The first game in the Earth or Not Earth app has you decide if a featured picture is from Earth or Not.
Image Credit: NASA with annotations by Cosmoquest.
This year, I got a really interesting present for Christmas. It's an app called "Earth or Not Earth" and it's available for Android phones and tablets from the Google Play Store. Brought to you by the CosmoQuest project, this app lets you test your knowledge of planetary features by (you guessed it) identifying which features are from Earth and which aren't.

Actually, there are three "games" in this app. The first one is where you have to figure out which features are from Earth. The app shows you a picture of a planetary feature, and you have to click the big "Earth" button if you think this is a feature from Earth, or the "Not" button if you think this is a picture of another planet. It's actually quite fun, and a bit harder than you think. But this is labelled as the "Easy" game.

The next "game" is labelled as medium in difficulty. Here, the app shows you a picture and you have to choose which of the 4 multiple choice answers best fits the image. The choices are usually either planets or feature types, so you need to either identify which planet the image comes from, or which kind of feature the image is showing. It's multiple choice, so it can't be that hard, right?

The final game is labelled as hard. And it is. You need to pick out two pictures that come from the same planet out of a set of 12 images. This is actually a timed activity, and you need to see how fast you can match up all the pairs in a group of 32 images.

Matching Game         Pick Two Game         Learning Cards
The second game has you pick which planet or feature type is being showcased in the image.
Image Credit: NASA with annotations by Cosmoquest.
        The third game has you pick two pictures from the same planet in a set of 12 images.
Image Credit: NASA with annotations by Cosmoquest.
        Features are described in the Learn section. (Click the "Hide" or "Show" buttons to remove or restore the text).
Image Credit: NASA, annotations by Cosmoquest, text by Irene Antonenko.
So, the app is lots of fun. But, if you find you are sucking at this, don't despair. There is a Learning section in the app that lets you explore the image set and learn more about the worlds and features in these images. Navigating either by planet or feature type, you can read about each image, what it's showing, and where it's is located. You can also "Hide" the text so you can examine the full image in more detail.    

Now, here is where I have to make a confession. You see, about a year ago, I created a set of Planetary Surface Feature "Vocabulary Cards" for the CosmoQuest project. Each card showed an image of a planetary feature and had a description of the feature and the planet it came from provided on the back. I was pretty proud of these cards, but nothing much ever seemed to come from them. Then CosmoQuest team member Joseph Moore took these cards and created this really amazing and fun app with them. So, for me, the best Christmas present was seeing my planetary surface feature cards used in this really creative and interesting way!!

If you think this app sounds like fun, why don't you give it a try. It costs only $1.99 USD and all proceeds go towards supporting CosmoQuest science research and outreach initiatives.

Earth or Not Earth Android App, Google Play Store, Dec. 10, 2013.

CosmoQuest, Would you like to play a game with us? Google+, Dec 11, 2013.

Sanders, App Review: Earth or Not Earth, Universe Today, Dec. 20, 2013.