Apps like Star Rover offer a lot of information regarding space and the universe on the whole. The way augmented reality plays a major role in most space-related apps clearly shows that the genre has the potential of expanding way beyond its present status of being a mere novelty. For now, however, there are a lot of limitations when it comes to apps dealing with the cosmos. You might be able to glean the name of a distant object from Star Rover, but the data is rarely real-time, and acts as nothing more than an interactive encyclopedia. There is no easy way of learning a planet’s current temperature just by looking at it on a map, but you aren’t likely to find an entry for Jupiter in Yahoo! Weather either. Now though, someone has come up with the idea of developing a weather app that is capable of showing current weather stats from both Earth and Mars. Sol has a great interface, and collects weather data for Mars from the Curiosity rover that landed on the red planet last year.
Sol is really easy to use, and the interface is pretty much self-explanatory. The top of the screen depicts Mars, with the current temperature around Curiosity shown there. At the bottom of the screen, the temperature from your current location is shown. If you want to change the city, tap the small moon icon to head to the Sol settings menu. From this screen, users get to choose the temperature units, and enter any city’s ZIP code to change the default Earth location for the app.
The main Sol screen gives users a comparison of the conditions of the two planets, but it’s also possible to get some more stats simply by tapping the respective icons. For Mars, the data includes the high and low temperatures, solar intensity, atmospheric pressure and information regarding the season currently prevalent there. For Earth, the stats are a bit different, with humidity showing up in place of the ‘SOL’ value. To share the this information over social media, buttons for Facebook and Twitter are available at the end of the menu.
It is difficult to make a case for the usefulness of Sol for most users, but that doesn’t mean a lot of people won’t end up checking it out for the coolness factor! The app is fun, and can help you learn a great deal about the conditions on Mars. It isn’t too bad as a weather app for Earth either, with the only glaring flaw being its inability to let you see the conditions of multiple cities simultaneously. Despite all that, Sol is a free app and in our opinion, certainly worth a shot. According to the developer, Sol’s iPad version is expected to arrive soon but for now, the app is optimized for iPhone and iPod touch only.