Nat Geo Channel’s Top 10 of 2010: #5 — Most "Astronomically Geek-tastic" Interactive

Known Universe Solar-System Builder
If you’ve ever wanted wreak havoc on a solar-system wide scale, have we got the online interactive experience for you!  Fling planets into wayward orbits, create a life-sustaining earth and then smash it into a neighboring gas giant, or maybe just maybe, build a nice, calm stellar backyard with planets settled into stable orbits… or, did I mention the smashing?

Known Universe Solar System Builder

The Known Universe Solar System Builder  lets you drop planets around a star of your choice. Customize the star and the planets.  Then arrange them into a starting pattern, with finely tweaked orbital velocities and then press the “GO!!!” button.  Depending on how you’ve set up your starting conditions and the relative mass of the star and nearby planets, the whole thing comes to life as the underlying physics engine guides the planets through their initial spins ‘round your star.  Depending on how you’ve arranged things, you’ll either see fiery cosmic collisions on a planetary scale (most likely), or possibly, your planetoids will settle into stable orbits.

The fun is that you make up the goals – want to smash and crash? We got you covered!  Want to build a happy and calm stellar neighborhood where everything is orbiting peachy-keen? You can try, but it’s harder than you’d think.

The Solar System builder isn’t quite a game, but it presents a fun and addicting puzzle for you to solve, based on what you’re hoping to do – sort of like a stellar game of pool where you’re making bank-shots with gas giants.

Pandora ChallengeMy favorite challenge is one I call “The Pandora” – like in the movie Avatar, I set up a medium-size Star, get a big blue “Gas Giant Planet” orbiting it, and then spin a little moon around the gas giant and see if I can keep it all at just the right distance so that the moon develops life – viola, “Pandora” (you’ll have to provide your own 15 foot tall sexy-hot blue aliens)!  Hint – use the “Rocky Water Planet” for you moon – that’s the only planet selection that can develop life.

Give it a spin and see what you think.  What kind of Solar System Builder will you be?  Oh, and did I mention the smashing?

Try the Known Universe Solar System Builder >>

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  1. Timea Bagosi
    May 15, 2012, 6:32 am

    could you please provide the link for the game? it is not any more on the channels page, and i cannot find it among the games either. please, thank you