Super Planet Crash – The Ultimate Space Game

Have you ever wondered how different masses in space interact with each other gravitationally and how stable solar systems form? Then you will want to check out the game Super Planet Crash. Super Planet Crash is a browser-based gravity game that originated from an open-source program used by astronomers to detect planets outside of our Solar System born out of the work of Yale Professor of Astronomy, Greg Laughlin and Stefano Meschairi at UC Santa Cruz. This fun and addictive game lets users create their planetary systems utilizing several different astronomical bodies, including Earth-like masses, Super-Earths, Ice Giants, Giant Planets, Brown Dwarfs, and Dwarf Stars. How To Play Super Planet Crash At the game's opening, players are given a single Earth-like mass that has been assigned an arbitrary orbit around a central parent star. The challenge is for players to create their solar system by continuing to add additional masses within a…

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The Solar Republic Game Play Instructions and Rules
Solar Republic Card Game - Model Laura Harwood

The Solar Republic Game Play Instructions and Rules

The Solar Republic game is a great game for those familiar with the common games of Spades and Euchre but also appreciate a little “space” in their card games. The game was created with an affinity for space exploration, astronomy, and astronomical symbols.Imagine a future, not quite dystopian, but by far not a walk in the park. We are space-faring but still human. Our technological advances have allowed us to thrive in places we would have never dreamed of.The adventurous are truly going where no man has gone before, setting up settlements and colonies throughout the Solar System. Land is the new currency. The more you own, the more you can secure a future for yourself and your family amidst constant unrest.You have three goals. Demonstrate your Prowess. Explore the Unknown. Conquer the Solar System.The Solar Republic Game Play in 5 minsThe deck consists of 52 cards, 5 suits, and 2…

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The Majesty of Gas Giant Planets

When we hear the term "gas giant planet", our minds race directly to several planets located within our Solar System, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. These planets share several defining characteristics that allow them to be lumped into the same category.In particular, the high percentage of helium and hydrogen within their overall composition places them apart from other more terrestrial solar bodies. However, the term gas giant planet is a bit misleading in that it tells us very little about the actual composition of these unique worlds.Gas giant planets are composed of a high percentage of solid material. Due to the extreme pressure within the core of a gas giant, hydrogen may be converted into a metallic solid or liquid form.Frequently, there are other materials interspersed within this solid matrix as well. Although all gas giants contain high amounts of hydrogen and helium within their overall composition, they may also have…

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Mae C. Jemison: When Art and Science Combine

By Emily ZubritskyCan you be a dancer, an astronaut, a doctor, and a professor? Yes. But you’ll need the tenacity and intellect of Mae C. Jemison, whose belief is that the arts and sciences should be taught together and are not at all separate.On September 12, 1992, Jemison made history when she became the first African-American woman to travel into space aboard the Endeavour on mission STS47. She didn’t mean to become a role model but quickly became one to girls, particularly girls of color, everywhere.And what is it that made Jemison so successful? A supportive family, a drive to learn, and a balance of art and science. Jemison was born in Alabama but raised on the South Side of Chicago. Since age 11, she has been an avid dancer, practicing many different types, such as African dancing, ballet, jazz, modern, and Japanese dance. While attending Morgan Park High School in Chicago, she…

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Anousheh Ansari: Stargazing Becomes Space Travel

By Emily Zubritsky I watched Anousheh Ansari’s TED talk and felt so inspired that I may only find a way to get myself to space! Ok, let’s be honest, I probably won’t go to space. But her story inspired me to pursue my hopes and dreams. Please watch it yourself as we need more inspiration in this world around space travel and all things positive.  Anousheh Ansari’s TED Talk Since she was a little girl, Anousheh Ansari would stare up at the stars and dream of going to space. On September 18, 2006, she became the first female private citizen to travel to space. How’s that for following through with a dream! Ansari was aboard the mission Soyuz TMA-9 and traveled with commander Mikhail Tyurin and flight engineer Michael Lopez-Alegria. She landed safely back on earth on September 29, 2006. While aboard the aircraft, Ansari agreed to perform some research for…

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Solar Eclipse 2017 Experience: A Moment in Totality

No matter what you read on Facebook, 2017 has been a great year, especially for astronomy and space. The top three astronomical events that come to mind first were:The discovery of the Trappist planets.The completion of Juno's mission to Jupiter (The mission has sense been extended)The American Solar Eclipse.Experiencing the Solar Eclipse was the first time I witnessed an eclipse with my own eyes. I can unequivocally say that it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. No matter what interests or knowledge level, I advise anyone to see a total solar eclipse at least once in their lifetime. The next one over North America will be April 8, 2024, so don't miss it!I saw the eclipse with a close friend in Makanda, IL, at Star View Vineyards. There were already about twenty to thirty people scattered around the front yard of the vineyard. Most had eclipse glasses…

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What Are Exoplanets

One of the best-kept secrets of our times is that planets exist outside our Solar System. Exoplanets are planets orbiting one of the billions of stars we see in the nighttime sky. As our ability to search through the vastness of space increases, we continue to find ourselves faced with an ever-expanding potential of discovering planets that could look and behave like Earth. That's all fine and dandy, but wouldn't you impress your friends with your exoplanetary knowledge instead? Look no further! The History of Exoplanetary ExplorationHumans began their interest in exoplanets around the 16th century. The Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno was the first to publicly support the idea based on his belief in the Copernican theory that Earth and the other known planets of the time were indeed orbiting around the sun. He speculated that this should be the case for different stars in the universe. In the 18th Century, Isaac Newton…

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The Elegance of Astronomy Symbols

I have always been fascinated by symbols and the messages they communicate. As a graphic designer, my favorite projects were creating logos. I love the elegance and slickness of silhouette logos that tell a story with just a glance. I had similar feelings when viewing the art and graphics of the classic Halo video game. Within the lore of Halo, an ancient species named the Forerunners designed beautiful, grandiose architecture that within the context of the game, looked ancient, spiritual, and foreign, yet technologically advanced. Their symbols communicated a species outside of time. This is how I’ve seen astronomy symbols. They represent objects that have been around millions of years before us and more than likely millions of years after us. They are simple yet elegant and are a reflection of the mythology that helped ancient people interpret what they saw in the heavens. The experience was spiritual in the sense that I’m…

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