NASA's first interactive graphic novel is free and includes AR features

NASA has announced the release of its first interactive graphic novel. The comic, which is titled "First Woman," leverages readers' phones to immerse them in the story using augmented reality tech. As with other media published by NASA, the new graphic novel is free for anyone to download and read, plus there's an audio version.

NASA's "First Woman: NASA's Promise for Humanity" graphic novel was released on National Comic Book Day. Readers are introduced to the fictional character Callie Rodriguez who is presented as the first woman on the Moon. This story is clearly inspired by NASA's Artemis program and plans for its next return to the lunar surface.

NASA says that its new interactive graphic novel is intended to inspire the "Artemis Generation" — that is, youth who dream of working for the space agency and, perhaps, one day traveling to space. Among other things, NASA uses the graphic novel to present some of its tech related to lunar exploration and travel.

The AR-based elements include 3D objects viewed on the reader's phone, as well as life-sized environments for exploration, the Moon's surface, and the space agency's Orion spacecraft. The 40-page graphic novel isn't meant for passive reading, either; readers can play games, watch videos, and collect badges, for example.

NASA lists this comic book as Issue #1, indicating that it plans to release additional graphic novels in the future. As well, the space agency says that it will soon release a version of the first issue in Spanish. Readers have the option of viewing the graphic novel online or downloading a PDF version.