22:08 GMT27 January 2020
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    The application, aimed at something other than your garden variety "phone potato," offers a plethora of different tasks, games and quizzes for astronaut wannabes. Space Navigator promises to make users "space ready," regardless of their starting point.

    Finnish startup Space Nation has unveiled a fancy app that helps people become space tourists with the help of an ordinary smartphone, Finnish national broadcaster Yle reported.

    The smartphone application Space Navigator was designed to hone future astronauts' skills and abilities and includes a variety of tasks, games and quizzes. Whichever the user's starting point, the app is intended to build up their physical condition, mental and social skills from scratch to a "space ready" level.

    For the app to see the light of day, Space Nation has been cooperating with the US space agency NASA and is the only space tourism member of the UN's World Tourism Organization.

    "Space is not far away. It's in our backyard," Mazdak Nassir, Space Nation co-founder and chief content officer said.

    Advanced users of the app will even be provided with an opportunity to go to actual space. Space Nation plans to select twelve of the most suitable users of the training app for further training, guaranteeing an actual space trip to the fittest.

    "Our aim is to dispel the notion that it takes a superhuman to become an astronaut. We are talking about international astronauts needed for near space as space travel develops," Nassir said.

    According to marketing chief Katja Presnal, the app is conveniently fit for beginners, with tasks starting at level zero and gradually becoming more challenging. An adapted, 12-module training program exists for junior astronauts who are still at preschool and primary school levels.

    Aalto University Assistant Professor Jan Praks, who specializes in sustainable space technology, has called the Space Nation app a "positive development."

    "All activities and investments in this direction are good. This will prepare us for a future when space travel becomes much more common," Praks said.

    At the same, he pointed out that it will still take many years before space travel really becomes an everyday event, admitting that sending people into space is still "technically challenging." Nevertheless, he emphasized that space is getting rapidly commercialized due to dwindling costs and advancing rocket technology.

    The Space Navigator has been met with interest from the general public and has been downloaded tens of thousands of times, according to Presnal.


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    astronaut, space travel, app, Scandinavia, Finland
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