Smithsonian Channel App a Finalist for SXSW Interactive Innovation Award

Smithsonian Channel’s augmented reality app, “Apollo’s Moon Shot AR,” is a finalist for the 23rd annual South by Southwest Interactive Innovation Awards. Released in July 2019 timed to the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the free app was selected for the Award’s “VME” category, honoring content creation and delivery that moves beyond passive viewership by providing a more immersive entertainment experience. The app also won the Best Use of AR award from Cynopsis.

“Apollo’s Moon Shot AR” is averaging 14 minutes of engagement per user, an overall engagement of 77 million seconds, or 900 total days, spent in the app. A companion to Smithsonian Channel’s landmark six-part documentary series “Apollo’s Moon Shot,” the app tells the full Apollo story in an authentic yet unique, virtual way with various components including:

  • Timeline user interface that traces the full Apollo program through interactive videos/quizzes.
  • A “Take a Moon Shot” AR game that illustrates the physics of getting a rocket into safe orbit around the moon.
  • A Saturn V rocket launch and AR module that shows the different stages of the mission.
  • A “Landing Do or Die” AR game that lets viewers try to land successfully on the moon.
  • A “Portal to the Moon” that uses mixed reality to let viewers step onto the moon and explore 11 mapped areas that recreate what the astronauts did during their 2.5 hours on the lunar surface.
  • Interactive AR modules of authentic Apollo artifacts from NASM’s collection: Neil Armstrong’s space suit and the Lunar Command Module.
  • A “Selfie in Space” feature that lets viewers take selfies next to the Lunar Lander or out in cosmos.

The app, created by Smithsonian Channel alongside the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and Polish AR/VR specialist Immersion, is available globally on Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

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