Rockets, Robots, Red Planet

by: Matt Sears

Rockets, Robots, Red Planet - what more does a growing nerd need? What? You didn't think we'd forgotten about space, did you?


MAVEN is the latest venturer to Mars. It is a probe about the length of a school bus, and it weighs as much as an SUV. It is now on the 10 month trip to Mars. NASA is 14 for 20 in successful Mars missions. Here's hoping they get to 15!

Meanwhile, the Curiosity rover is up to 2.6 miles traveled on the Martian surface, it would take an astronaut about a day to travel that far - that's according to people much smarter than me.

Long term goal (likely a very fluid date) - a manned mission of some sort to Mars in the 2030's, but we're going to need a lot more tech to get there.

What about you? Would you like to try your hand at reaching Mars (or as close as you or I are ever going to get) right now? Head over to the Kerbal Space Program website and have a look around. It looks like they just put up a replica of the MAVEN probe to use in-game!!

https://kerbalspaceprogram.com/

Design and build your own airplanes, space planes, rockets, landers, rovers, probes, satellites, space stations, and interplanetary vehicles. Then set out and explore a wonderful rendition of a solar system analogous to ours. 

While you are on your way to your objective, take some time to go on a space walk and perform experiments in zero-G environments. Or you can wait until you arrive on the surface of any of the seven other planets or one of their many moons. 

Learn to achieve orbit, dock with other ships, heck, remake the Apollo program and reach the Mun (pronounced Moon) if you want! Or you can travel out to the furthest reaches of the solar system and see what awaits you. 

Oh yeah, just remember, your only as good as your ship's design and sometimes you'll find your ship experiencing a rapid, unscheduled disassembly as you try to come to grips with just what is required to simply lift a capsule and a few Kerbalnauts into space. It's not always easy, but learning is fun and, after all, it's for the advancement of SCIENCE!

Sandbox and Career modes are now available for two different styles of play. KSP is constantly improving as it moves through its beta stage but if they were forced to stop now the game would be more than worth the money in my opinion. Thankfully, that's not likely to happen. 

This indie developer has broken the mold with a game that is unique, fun, and engrossing for anyone who has ever watched a spaceship launch or land, or who looked up at the stars and said, "yeah, that's awesome." 

Go take a look!

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http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/11/18/nasa-set-to-launch-robotic-explorer-to-mars/?intcmp=latestnews

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/nasa-aims-mars-robotic-maven-set-soar-20917802

http://www.popsci.com/article/technology/everything-you-need-know-about-todays-maven-mission-mars