In Brief

'Cosmos' App Puts the Universe in Your Smartphone

Neil deGrasse Tyson in 'Cosmos' Spaceship
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts the new show "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" on FOX. He is seen here in his ship of the imagination. (Image credit: Patrick Eccelsine/FOX)

Fox has a new app for space fans who need more than their weekly dose of "Cosmos."

Available for the iPhone and Android, the free app lets users carry the sleek CGI graphics of Fox's "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" in their pocket, with previews and clips from the science-themed TV show's 13 episodes.

The space app also includes interviews with the show's producers who discuss, for example, how the series got its symphonic soundtrack and why they used a woman on a motorbike to explain special relatively. Visual-effects specialists are on hand, too, to talk about how they animated tardigrades (also called water bears) and created a virtual "Hall of Extinction."

"Cosmos" fans can also peruse the app's production diaries, a history of the series and guides on the show's wide-ranging subjects, from atoms to evolution and Halley's comet to the human eye. There's even an interactive "Cosmic Calendar" for those who need a reminder that, when all of time is compressed in a 365-day scale, humans invented writing just 14 seconds before midnight on New Year's Eve.

"Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey," which is hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and premiered in March, is a reboot of the beloved "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage" series that aired on PBS in 1980 and was hosted by the late astronomer Carl Sagan.

The 7th episode of the new series will air Sunday night (April 20) on FOX and Monday on the National Geographic Channel. It will feature actor Richard Gere (of "Pretty Woman" and "Chicago") as the voice of Clair Patterson, the geochemist who developed the uranium-lead dating method that led to the discovery that Earth is 4.5 billion years old.

The app can be downloaded through Google Play or the iTunes Store.

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Megan Gannon Contributing Writer

Megan has been writing for Live Science and since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity on a Zero Gravity Corp. to follow students sparking weightless fires for science. Follow her on Twitter for her latest project.