JPL’s Satellite Insight may be the nerdiest game ever


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The Jet Propulsion Laboratory works on a lot of cool projects -- building the new rover Curiosity that is set to take off for Mars later this week for example, or following asteroids through radar telescopes that are 70 meters wide.

And now it is bringing you a new game for your iPhone or iPad. It’s called Satellite Insight, and it just might be the nerdiest game ever invented.


Here’s the description from iTunes:

A sea of critical real-time weather data floods into the satellite’s memory grid. A storm full of tornadoes is brewing! The Sun is about to blast out a huge solar flare that could destroy satellites! To save lives and protect expensive instruments, the GOES-R weather satellite must not lose any of the data it is collecting. You can help! Bundle like data types together and store them safely before the data grid overflows.

That’s right satellite scientists: The world is in your hands. Can you handle the data?

The game is kind of fun to play. It involves colored blocks that fall into a grid -- each one representing a piece of data like clouds from the Advanced Baseline Imager, or Lightning from the Geostationary Lightning Mapper. The bits of data can be grouped together in threes or more and then sent to the GOES-R satellite to store. The data blocks fall slowly at first, but speed up quickly.

It’s not totally unlike Tetris.

The game’s goal is to educate people about the data collecting abilities of the GOES-R satellite, which will launch in 2015. Read through the directions and you’ll find information about what makes the GOES-R so special, as well as information on its geostationary orbit.

Like we said, super-nerdy, but still fun!


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-- Deborah Netburn