Ever wanted to work for SpaceX, Elon Musk’s private rocket company?
To start things off, you must demonstrate a passion for spaceflight. You’ll also need the combination of advanced skills necessary to help launch massive payloads into orbit. And if you manage to make your way through the initial selection process, there’s a likelihood you’ll end up sitting across from Musk himself, who will probably ask you a particular navigation-related brainteaser.
Until you land that gig at SpaceX, here’s the next-best thing: SpaceX Falcon 9 Lander, a browser-based game built in Scratch, a programming platform developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. The game emulates SpaceX’s actual attempts to land the reusable Falcon 9 lander on a floating platform in the middle of the ocean, and just like in real life, it’s really hard to maneuver a giant-yet-delicate vehicle filled with highly flammable liquid without having it explode.
But unlike real life, where a roomful of sweaty astrophysicists and mission controllers toil hard with every attempt to bring the Falcon 9 back down to earth in one piece, you can control the game’s virtual Falcon 9 with a couple of keyboard-taps, which makes the whole thing fun instead of unbelievably tense. While the game isn’t a realistic simulation of what it’s like to work at SpaceX, it’s a fun distraction.