Reach Across the Stars 
Augmented Reality App Mobile

Client: Smithsonian/NASA Chandra Role: Concept, Creative Direction, Content Strategy, UX Design, Development Lead

A XR journey that lets you virtually “meet” pioneering female STEM figures from yesterday to today, celebrating and championing the often overlooked and underrepresented women who have had an impact on the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Featured as ‘App of the Day’ on the Apple App store.
Selected as an ‘Editor’s Pick’ on the Google Play Store.

More about the project here:

The Ask:
Create an AR app to inspire middle-school aged girls to consider a career in STEM.

The Insight:
Through the research phase, we discovered that many projects featuring women in STEM celebrated the achievements of women in past eras, but didn’t provide much insight on what it was like to have a career in STEM, let alone how you might pursue one. We deceided to feature modern-day scientists who could provide insight and guidance on what it’s like to work as a scientist today. 

The Project:
The Universe in the app features over 30 diverse female scientists as beautifully illustrated constellations that reveal short stories about the scientists’ accomplishments and careers. Among those stories the modern-day Featured Scientists, that reveal the Journeys section of the guide viewers through certain aspects of their work, allowing viewers to ask questions as they recall their favorite career moments as well as challenges and obstacles they faced along the way.

The interaction mechanics for the in-app journeys were derived from two essential skills that any young, budding scientist needs to have-- exploring and asking questions. The Journey sections feature experiences that combine audio interviews, video, 3D Augmented Reality environments and 360-degree virtual reality content to let viewers peek into the worlds of these scientific heroes. You can explore NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory astronaut Cady Coleman, tour the Crab Nebula pulsar with astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell, and get a behind-the-scenes look at the Mars 2020 rover with Christina Hernandez, an instrument engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The project received support from the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, Because of Her Story. Launched in 2018, Because of Her Story is one of the country’s most ambitious undertakings to research, collect, document, display and share the compelling story of women. Support also comes from Chandra. The Chandra X-ray Observatory, one of NASA’s “Great Observatories,” has a special connection to the Smithsonian as its science and operations center is at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Massachusetts. The Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra X-ray Center on behalf of NASA.