Build Your Own Space Lander

Popular Mechanics developed and iPad app that allows users to build their own spacecraft designed to land on alien worlds. The game, Touchdown, was designed in house and boasts some pretty impressive mechanics to help learn about the fine science of spacecraft while having fun too.

Popular Mechanics recognizes that spacecraft landing designs are one of the fastest-expanding areas in aerospace engineering. Scientists and entreprenuers are constantly looking for new and better designs to landing useful spacecraft on other worlds. Now you are able to get a basic idea of what goes into such a design and try your own luck.

The game is launched from within Popular Mechanics iPad app, free on iTunes, and is an informative, interactive simulation to the many factors that are involved with creating a useful spacecraft for many different terrains.

Different scenarios were created by Popular Mechanics’ own science contributor, Michael Belfiore. They include anything from landing on Mars to landing on the asteroid Ceres, each with their own challenges and factors to consider.

Choose you destination and create a lander for that terrain. Determine the correct combination of things such as cargo, fuel and braking system or your expensive lander will become an expensive pile of trash on an alien world.

You can check out a demonstration of the game here.

Though the game itself is well-made and actually fun, the ingenious part of it is how it is seamlessly thrown into Popular Mechanics content on the app. One moment you are reading about different lander spacecraft, and the next page you are prompted to play Touchdown. “We think that Touchdown presents a unique blend of science journalism and simple gaming. It’s one of the many ways we’re exploring to combine top-notch reporting with digital technology.”

With the May issue, Popular Mechanics looks like they are getting a jump start on what makes digital media fun and interactive. I look forward to what other things they can do with their app.

Check out these other cool apps that blend science-fiction and science-fact or free apps students might enjoy.

Via: Popular Mechanics