Let's start saying that it is not really clear what is the purpose of this app.
Is it just a game? It has a real educational intent or just an informative one?
Obviously it is meant to support ESA Swarm mission but let's go through the details to get a better understanding.
One of the main feauture of this product is a direct access to the #Swarmcampaign blog and socials even though it is not clear why the user needs an app for that. You can have an easy access to ESA blogs and socials from any device, included the one that you are playing with!
The main idea behind that choice seems to be an "all in one product" : a game (you control a steel ball across a labyrinth by heading at the compass needle), all the available information about #swarmcampaign in a click and a very nice layout feature (not immediately graspable) about getting an idea of scaled-dimensions and position of the satellites relative to the Earth's inner structure.
What about the game? Can you handle true north? Try it! It will take you a few minutes to figure out how. But, what comes next? Is that it?
Another non-trivial issue and not for the sake of criticism by itself is the overall aestethics. The app, at a first glance, lacks of beauty.
Of course any product in the end is a compromise (costs, oppotunities, tools availability). No contest on that. We'll see, in the near future, if the users enjoy it and their reviews.
As for us, what is surprising is that this app have been released by this time, while, given the huge potential of our technological capabilities, a big shift is happening in education and science dissemination.
A set of three engaging presentations has been recently released by ESA: an introduction to the Earth's magnetic field, why the magnetic field matters and Swarm satellites.
Definitely good educational resources!
The three Swarm mission satellites, namely Swarm A,B and C, follow a near-polar orbit.
Swarm A and B are circling the Earth side-by-side at an altitude of 450 km (LEO) decaying naturally to 300 km during the four years mission, while Swarm C orbit at an altitude of 530 Km (LEO).
This unique configuration enables a quicker sampling of the Earth and allows measurements that help us to distinguish between the effect of different source of magnetism.
Copyright: European Space Agency (ESA)
Replay of the Swarm liftoff on a Rockot launcher from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia at 12:02 GMT (13:02 CET) on 22 November 2013.
The three-satellite Swarm mission aims to provide new information on the sources of the magnetic fieldinside Earth. This includes understanding how the magnetic field is related to the motion of molten iron in the outer core, how the conductivity of the mantle is related to its composition and how the crust has been magnetised over geological timescales.
It will also investigate how the magnetic field relates to Earth’s environment through the radiation beltsand their near-Earth effects, including the solar wind energy input into the upper atmosphere.