What do you do if you’re trying to send a probe to an asteroid to drill for samples tolearn more about where we all came from … and federal policy takes away your education and public outreach budget? Well, if you’re Dante Lauretta, the lead researcher for NASA’s Osiris-REx mission, you Kickstart a game to raise consciousness about the mission and help the public understand the challenges that projects like Osiris-REx faces.
Xtronaut: The Game of Solar System Exploration is a card game for 2-4 players and is available to back now through October 12. In the game, players draw missions, each with unique criteria to complete. To accomplish the missions, players must play various cards that provide the spacecraft, which each player is building, with the velocity needed to reach an object in the solar system.
In addition to vehicle cards, which provide fairings and boosters, players can plat gravity assist cards, that give a velocity boost as their vehicles travel by planets and moons. What gives the game added realism are the action cards, which players can play to give themselves an added advantage (“Surplus – Draw two cards” or “Salvage – Retrieve a card from the discard pile”) or, more deviously, hinders your opponents (“Financial Audit – Choose a player to discard half the cards in their hand” or “Cancelled – Choose a player to draw a new mission”).
The game is based on real missions and rocket science and is inspired by the physical hurdles and political challenges that actual space missions have to overcome before lighting the candles.
What’s more, if funded, Xtronaut will be giving free copies of the game to the Boys and Girls Club of Metropolitan Phoenix (Lauretta is also a professor at University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory). The donated games will include a fairly comprehensive student workbook that will give these kids a deeper look at Osiris-REx and everything that goes into developing like missions.
Go check it out now.