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Space Games

TheSpaceGame — Design Your Route To Jupiter 76

An anonymous reader writes "The Advanced Concepts Team of the European Space Agency is celebrating World Space Week (4-10 October 2010) with the release of 'The Space Game,' an online game for interplanetary trajectory design. The Space Game is an online crowdsourcing experiment where you are given the role of a mission designer to seek the best path to travel through space. The interactive game, coded in HTML5, challenges the players to devise fuel-efficient trajectories to various bodies of the Solar System via a user-friendly interface. The aim of the experiment is get people from all ages and backgrounds to come up with better strategies that can help improve the effectiveness of the current computer algorithms. As part of the events organized worldwide for Space Week, the first problem of the game is to reach Jupiter with the lowest amount of propellant. The best scores by 10 October will be displayed on the Advanced Concepts Team website and the three best designs will also receive some ESA prizes."
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TheSpaceGame — Design Your Route To Jupiter

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  • Waste of time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Monday October 04, 2010 @11:07PM (#33791128)

    This is exactly the kind of combinatorial optimization problem that is superbly well-suited for solution by software and quite possibly the last kind of problem you want to hand to a bunch of humans, unless those humans happen to be programmers with backgrounds in celestial mechanics, heuristics, and genetic algorithms.

    As a way of driving public interest in the ESA's space program, it's not a bad idea at all, but if any of its users manage to come up with a better solution than the ESA's software, it's not a triumph for crowdsourcing, it's a sign that the ESA needs to hire new programmers.

  • by assemblerex ( 1275164 ) on Monday October 04, 2010 @11:32PM (#33791276)
    You didn't need that DNA intact, did you?
  • Re:Waste of time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 04, 2010 @11:49PM (#33791352)

    They mention Monte Carlo by name in their video. If they know about random simulations formally, surely they know about genetic algorithms. They say at the bottom of the home page,

    We do not claim that computers are not able or are particularly bad at solving such problems. Rather, we think that 'watching' humans design complex interplanetary trajectories can be of help to improve the intelligence of computer algorithms.

    This is for publicity and for fun. It's the only explanation that makes sense without more information.

    Also, it's a decent example of the sort of thing possible with HTML5 crap, and it's GPL, so at least it's got that going for it.

  • by DougF ( 1117261 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:23AM (#33791490)

    ...the first problem of the game is to reach Jupiter with the lowest amount of propellant.

    I hate to be pedantic, but is the objective to arrive at Jupiter WITH the lowest amount of propellant, or is the objective to arrive at Jupiter USING the lowest amount of propellant? I suggest there is a big difference between the two.

Reactor error - core dumped!