The OU has released its first Multi-Touch iBook enabling people to explore moon rocks collected by Apollo astronauts from the comfort of their own sofa.
The 'Moon Rocks' iBook incorporates the OU's world-leading Virtual Microscope giving users the ability to explore thin sections of moon rocks under different light conditions, letting them zoom in and out, rotate individual rocks and identify the diagnostic colour changes that helped geologists identify the minerals in these rare finds.
Dr Tindle said: "Our Multi-Touch iBook tells the geological story of the evolution of our Moon and gives us a huge advantage over conventional books in allowing us to accurately represent to a general audience how scientists study rare and precious samples such as Moon rocks. In reality, such samples could never be made publically available to such an audience."
The samples we use in the book were collected by Apollo astronauts. They were part of the bravest and boldest endeavour of the 20th century and their contribution to science is acknowledged in the book which also incorporates interactive virtual microscopes, videos, image galleries, 360° panoramic rotation movies and 'test your Knowledge' quizzes.
'Moon Rocks', available now on the iBookstore on iPad, was developed using Apple's new iBooks Author publishing tool. The Open University already has over 422 eBooks available for free on iTunes U, but 'Moon Rocks' was the first to use iBooks Author.
The OU is always exploring ways to make the most of the latest and highest quality technologies to simplify study on the move. 71 percent of OU students fit study around work and nearly 30,000 accessed OU sites via mobile devices in December 2011 alone.
All the OU's content is available from the OpenLearn website which houses more than 11,000 hours of free web-based learning materials. For eBook readers there are more than 400 existing OU enhanced eBooks available, representing over 5,000 hours of interactive study.