NASA releases video game to celebrate upcoming space telescope

A sample of how to play.
GIF: NASA / Gizmodo

NASA Thrills the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope in a super retro style 8-bit inspired video gameAnd, frankly, it’s really fun. In the game, players are operators of a Roman space telescope who have to collect different celestial bodies ranging from exoplanets to dark matter.

What is the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope?

Once launched, the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will become a powerful tool in NASA’s arsenal for unraveling the secrets of the universe. The aim of the astronomical project is to study dark energy And the dark matterof which it is composed 95% from the known universe. The telescope will also be used to search for exoplanets, just like James Webb Telescope.

NASA says the Roman Space Telescope will work similarly HubbleBut it will operate with technology three decades more advanced than its predecessor. This should allow Roman to take infrared images that are 200 times larger than the images collected by Hubble. Although NASA has not yet set a confirmed launch date, the telescope has passed a design review in September 2021, and NASA aims to start science operations no later than May 2027.

roman space observer game

NASA released roman space observer game In the past week, there has been plenty to delight space lovers and vintage lovers alike. with the The eighties of the last century Now, Roman Space Observer fits it perfectly because it’s an arcade game in a vintage style. Think asteroids, but instead of exploding space rocks, players collect exoplanets and black holes. “Our goal with this game is to inform and inspire players about the amazing cosmic objects in our world and what Roman might be able to see in a fun and engaging way,” NASA stated on the game’s homepage.

The game is named after the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, which is set to launch later this decade.

The game is named after the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, which is set to launch later this decade.
Graphic: NASA

I played the game for a bit and I had an absolute blast. I was given control of the Nancy Grace Space Telescope and had to catch as many astrophysical objects as possible in one minute using the telescope’s sights. Galaxies, supernovae, rogue planets, and even the James Webb Telescope zoom in and out of the view of the Roman Space Telescope while a kitschy soundtrack full of “bleeps” and “bloops” played in the background. There are also blobs of dark matter and black holes that zip across the screen, but those proved to be much harder to snag since they blended in with the black background, which probably explains why they’re worth so many more points.

It sounds easy, but its actually incredibly challenging and I spent way too much time living the dream of a NASA telescope operator. I’m not a video game expert by any means, but I do love science and I think that the Roman Space Observer Game is a super fun way to engage the public on the namesake telescope’s mission to study some of the more mysterious parts of our universe.

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