SuperPlanetCrash is planetary sandbox, so to speak. It’s a solar system simulator posing as a fun computer game. The simulator found here, challenges you to build your own solar system, and keep it stable!
To do so, you must carefully place planets, ice giants, dwarf stars and various other celestial bodies within the system. They all orbit around the large central star, but gravity’s pull definitely changes things. Larger bodies like dwarf stars and giant planets have huge pull, and bodies the size of our Earth can easily get thrown off of their course.
Surrounding the central star is a habitable zone, usually determined by a temperature that can keep water in a liquid state. Bonus points are awarded for the sheer number of planets that you can keep stable in that zone. Point values are also affected by the “crowdedness level,” meaning that placing bodies closer together and risking planetary crashes, can earn you more points. The ultimate goal is to create a stable system that survives for 500 years.
That is when the game ends, but win or lose, SuperPlanetCrash is a great conversation starter. It gets you thinking, and talking about everything from gravity to eclipses. This hands on exploration of our universe and how it’s parts interact with one another would make a great teaching tool at NYSCI’s own Celestial Bodies exhibit in Mathematica! Even if you’ve got the tiniest inner nerd, you should check out this game.
Source: Science News
GIF: comaniddy via Gigazine