Ever wanted to steer a robotic spacecraft toward a comet rendezvous in deep space? Now there’s an app for that.
NASA has launched a free iPhone game called Comet Quest, that puts players at the controls of the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft, which is slated to arrive at the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014.The real Rosetta will drop a lander onto the comet’s nucleus, then spend roughly two years studying the icy wanderer from orbit. Comet Quest parallels the actual mission.
Players must deploy a lander in a scientifically interesting area; receive data from the lander; transmit lander and orbiter data back to Earth; and keep Rosetta safe from dangerous chunks of material blasting off the comet’s surface.