If you have any interest in space, you have to play the Kerbal Space Program
A few people had mentioned the +Kerbal Space Program
during our live Hangouts, but I wasn't sure what they were talking about. Finally, I went searching to figure out what this whole Kerbal thing is. I'm so glad I did.
The Kerbal Space Program is a video game that simulates a space exploration program. You can launch rockets, planes, satellites, space stations, landers, etc. There are an unlimited number of Kerbalastronauts willing to hop in any crazy vehicle and risk their lives for the conquest of space.
Here's the key. The game is fun, and it's brutally realistic
Play this game for a few hours and you'll deeply understand the basics of spaceflight. You'll know how rockets move the way they do, why to use multiple stages, and how hard it is to actually put a spacecraft into orbit - on another planet.
Seriously, my kids and I have been playing obsessively for the last day or so, and we've finally put a capsule into a stable orbit around the planet. We haven't even tried bringing the capsule back to Earth.Dad, we're too heavy to get off the launch pad. I think we need to give it solid rocket boosters while we're in the thickest part of the atmosphere. They're tricky to use, so I'll put a flight computer on too.
I can't even imagine how difficult it's going to be reach the other planets and moons in the system. To land rovers on the surface. To send a mission to another planet and then return them safely back to Earth. To dock in orbit?!
But I can't wait to figure it out.
I'll warn you, though, the learning curve on this game is brutal. But with some experimentation, you start to master tiny objectives, and move steadily out into space.
I know it's still in early stages, and the career mode hasn't been implemented yet. That should be fantastic, with the game easing you into the learning curve by teaching you the basics and giving you more and more challenges when you're ready.
Give it a try. The game is really just a sandbox rightnow, but it already has so much potential. https://kerbalspaceprogram.com/