Science ATL’s New App Lets Users Run Through Galaxies
Neil Armstrong famously was the first astronaut to walk on the moon. That was in 1969, but now you can run through galaxies and millions of light-years with Science ATL’s new “Race Through Space” app. “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes spoke with Meisa Salaita, the co-executive director of Science ATL, about this new interactive app.
The 2014 Atlanta Science Festival was the jumping off point for Science ATL’s nonprofit organization.
“The festival was a smashing success, and it turns out that people really want to learn about science and they’re excited to come to festival events like ‘Science Story Times’ and ‘Hiking Stone Mountain with a Geologist,’” Salaita said. “We decided a few years later that we needed to do more than just the annual festival, and now we do things throughout the year.”
Since races such as the Peachtree Road Race were being postponed, canceled, or made virtual, Science ATL had the idea to create an app that would make the races more interactive.
“The app basically allows you to hit start and the app tracks your location as your running, so it’s able to measure the distances that you’re running,” Salaita said. “When you hit a certain distance, let’s say half a kilometer, you come upon your first galaxy because that is equivalent in light-years to the distance you have run.”
While using the app, the user can go on an intergalactic journey that’s 54.8 million light-years long, which is the equivalent of a 5K race. A narrator guides them through space, sharing scientific information and a few jokes along the way.
“The app is free and we’re really happy that we’re able to share it with everybody,” Salaita said. “You’re learning without really realizing that you’re learning. You walk away feeling like a runstronaut.”