Category Archives: Simulators

MPL3D Solar System offers interactive 3D space simulation

Check out the latest version of MPL3D Solar System – an interactive 3D space simulation –

MPL3D Solar System is a visual tool to arouse interest for astronomy and to divulge science in an entertaining way.

MPL3D Solar System maps out the majority of the close known universe. Stretching beyond our own Solar System, it reaches out to include another 120 extrasolar planets amongst over 10,000 mapped objects in this interactive simulation. Based on scientific data, every planet has been carefully reproduced as a visual representation, alongside the technical details. You can explore our own planets, exoplanets, nebulae, star clusters, several galaxies and even Sagittarius A*, the black hole that exists at the centre of our own galaxy.

MPL3D Solar System (Touch) v1.5” includes now touch enabled capabilities and a customizable spaceship mode, allowing the user to fly all around the galaxy with Newtonian physics for the space flight.

This is the 5th version of the MPL3D saga, that keeps on with a continuous improvement of the original idea: An astronomy tool for the whole family.

Better textures for celestial bodies and improved graphic effects, including 7 combinations of HDR/Bloom, heat haze for stars and spaceship engines, and revised effects for nebulae, star clusters and galaxies.

Touch control adds a new feeling of intuitive, natural handling, bringing a new experience to the final user.

Spaceship mode enhances the entertainment side of the simulation, and even a fabulous 3d asteroids mini-game has been included. Spaceship control mode has all the common options in this type of simulations, which also include joystick and touch control, to allow a better control of the spaceship.

On the spaceship graphics side, seven configurable cameras, dozens of effects and up to eight light sources. The cockpit includes all kind of gauges for the three crew members, like gyroscope, g forces indicator, mission time, and even a 3d radar of the solar system.

A more extensive overview of the program:



NASA rover game released to mark Curiosity’s 4 year anniversary on Mars

Check out NASA’s free Rover Game:

NASA Rover Game Released for Curiosity’s Anniversary

As Curiosity marks its fourth anniversary (in Earth years) since landing on Mars, the rover is working on collecting its 17th sample. While Curiosity explores Mars, gamers can join the fun via a new social media game, Mars Rover.


On their mobile devices, players drive a rover through rough Martian terrain, challenging themselves to navigate and balance the rover while earning points along the way. The game also illustrates how NASA’s next Mars rover, in development for launch in 2020, will use radar to search for underground water.

“We’re excited about a new way for people on the go to engage with Curiosity’s current adventures on Mars and future exploration by NASA’s Mars 2020 rover too,” said Michelle Viotti, manager of Mars public engagement initiatives at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “Using social networks, the user can share the fun with friends. The interest that is shared through gameplay also helps us open a door to deeper literacy in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

JPL collaborated with GAMEE, a network for game-players, for development of the game, called Mars Rover.

For more information about how the Mars Rover game relates to exploration by NASA’s Mars rovers, visit:

Meanwhile, on Mars the real rover has driven to position for drilling into a rock target called “Marimba,” to acquire rock powder for onboard laboratory analysis. The rover has begun a multi-month ascent of a mudstone geological unit as it heads toward higher and progressively younger geological evidence on Mount Sharp, including some rock types not yet explored.

The mission is examining the lower slopes of Mount Sharp, a layered mountain inside Gale Crater, to learn more about how and when ancient environmental conditions in the area evolved from freshwater settings into conditions drier and less favorable for life. Six of the mission’s 13 drilled rock-samples so far, and two of its four scooped soil samples, have been collected since the third anniversary of landing. In its four years, Curiosity has returned more than 128,000 images and fired its laser more than 362,000 times. As of the fourth anniversary, Curiosity has driven 8.43 miles (13.57 kilometers).

Curiosity landed inside Mars’ Gale Crater on Aug. 6, 2012, EDT (evening of Aug. 5, PDT), with a touchdown technique called the sky-crane maneuver. During the rover’s first Earth year on Mars, the mission accomplished its main goal when it found and examined an ancient habitable environment. Researchers determined that a freshwater lake at the “Yellowknife Bay” site billions of years ago offered the chemical ingredients and energy favorable for supporting microbial life, if life has ever existed on Mars.

NASA’s orbiters and rovers at Mars enable continued scientific discoveries and prepare the way for future astronauts to explore the Red Planet.

More information about NASA’s Journey to Mars is available online at:

For more information about Curiosity, visit:


‘Planetbase’ – A Mars settlement building game

With the game Planetbase you guide

a group of space settlers trying to establish an outpost on a remote planet. Grow food, collect energy, mine resources, manufacture bots, and build a fully self-sufficient colony.

This review is quite positive: Steam’s Latest Hit Is A Tough-As-Nails Mars Base Building Game – io9

The enduring message of Planetbase—at least, after a couple hours—seems to be, “Don’t get cocky.” It’s been immensely satisfying building up my base so far, but I know it can be so much more. Apparently I can go from a handful of people to hundreds, to a base that very literally spans the planet. And yet, rocks fall from the sky as though hurled vengeful space deities saying, “Don’t. You. Dare.” But I will dare, even though Planetbase’s Steam page warns me of sandstorms, intruders, and solar flares, and beta players mention “hundreds of ways to die.”

I’m about to build a landing pad, which will usher in my base’s next era. Fearing certain death, I might have over-prepared for my next handful of colonists, but who knows? The planet is a big place. I haven’t even had to sound an emergency alarm yet. I’m excited to see what awaits.


Kerbal Space Program – A visual history of ‘career mode’ from John Walker

John Walker, founder of Autodesk, Inc. and co-author of AutoCAD, has posted a big Screenshot Gallery obtained from running Kerbal Space Program and learning a whole lot about rockets, orbital mechanics, and other aspects of spaceflight : New: Kerbal Space Program Screenshot Gallery – Fourmilog: None Dare Call It Reason.

The images were

accumulated over a several-months-long play-through in career mode which unlocked the entire technology tree and visited every body in the Kerbol system. An introduction explains the basics of the game to those unacquainted with it. I will add to the archive as adventures continue.


One thing which is certain is that after you’ve spent some time with Kerbal Space Program you will develop an intuition about orbital mechanics which few people, even authors of “hard” science fiction, have. Here is how Randall Munroe, creator of xkcd, described it.


A sample of Walker’s Kerbal screen captures:





Mars Society not quite to crowdfunding target for GreenHab + 1 year Mars habitat sim starts in Hawaii with 6 volunteers

With three days left, Mars Society is near but not yet over its crowdfunding target for the funding of a new “GreenHab” greenhouse facility at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah: Veggies on Mars – Help Rebuild the MDRS GreenHab – Indiegogo. The previous greenhouse was destroyed by fire.



At another Mars sim facility, six people recently entered an habitat in Hawaii where they will simulate a Mars mission for the next year. This will be the fourth mission of the HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) program.


Here is a blog from the habitat residents: Live From Mars – We are the Martians! | 12 months, 6 scientists, 1 Hab. Welcome to “Mars”.

Updates also available at #hiseas hashtag on Twitter.