After the Bush administration cancelled NASA’s Space Shuttle Program in 2010, the American public has been deprived of the mystery and adventure that is manned space travel. Other than looking up into the night sky on a clear night, are we to remain content with only summer blockbusters, television shows, and video games to give us that sense of wonder and awe, that incomprehensible curiosity that we all get when we think of the cosmos and our place within it? And although the Mars Rovers are amazing, helping us find answers to some of the most intriguing questions about Earth’s neighboring planets, few things compare to seeing astronauts launch into space in search of cosmic discovery.
Until NASA returns to its former glory, the best that we have is the Kerbal Space Program, a software simulator that allows users to design and build their own spaceship from the ground up, even sending it off out into space to explore nearby planets. Although still in development, the Kerbal Space Program is functional, offering users a taste of what building and launching a spaceship is all about.
Some Redditors are creating KSP challenges like this Apollo style challenge completed by Scott Manley.
Even in its current state, the program’s possibilities are endless. We will be keeping a close eye on the Kerbal Space Program to see where they take this brilliant game and hope that NASA is paying attention.