Super Planet Crash Game
Computing & Wireless : Application Software
Available for non-exclusive licensing
- Stefano Meschiari, Ph.D. , McDonald Observatory
The ongoing discovery of thousands of planets beyond the Solar System is revolutionizing our understanding of the demographics of our Galaxy and is resonating intensely with the public. In order to maintain the current level of public interest, astronomers are increasingly turning to online outreach activities, both with compelling visualizations and citizen science activities that involve the public in the process or scientific discovery. Some of the latter, however, tend to only attract advanced amateurs who are already deeply interested in the subject matter (e.g., the discovery of exoplanets). Super Planet Crash is a simple game that makes the ideas behind gravitational physics accessible at a more intuitive level to the general public.
Super Planet Crash is a digital orrery, integrating the motion of massive bodies forward in time according to Newtonian gravity. It offers a simple and compelling visualization of the evolution of planetary systems created by the player. A point system and leaderboard encourages the player to explore different planetary configurations in order to increase their score. The main goal is to create a planetary system that is stable for five hundred years. The game has been played more than six million times by 400,000 players since its release in 2014.
Players can learn more about the physics of gravity and gain interest in learning more about the dynamics of planetary systems.
Museum exhibits, game developer houses.