Last week SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk revealed his plan to make life multiplanetary. SpaceX intends to bring 1,000,000 people to Mars over the course of a few decades. If you have not heard of Elon Musk and his companies, he is deemed as the real-life Tony Stark and he's also a PC gamer!. Elon's goal is to bring humanity out of Earth and onto different planets, he states this is the only way our species will survive in the long run. At the International Astronautical Congress, Musk presented his plan that included an intricate render of the mission and it looked like a Sci-Fi movie trailer! Now what does this have to do with gaming? Well, in one of my first articles, I shared one of my favorite games with you guys and that is, Kerbal Space Program. Unlike most space games out there KSP is a game that is adored by NASA and Elon Musk. It is also one of the only games that is respected by real-life industries in the genre.
In this tweet Elon shows his enthusiasm for KSP after Marcus House shares his rendition of how SpaceX's Mars transport mission would fold out. We will not being going too in depth about this Mars mission but in summary it is a large, reusable rocket with an estimated cost of $560 million USD. It has an estimated capacity of about 100-200 people. If you are interested in going, SpaceX is hoping to make tickets somewhere in the range of $150,000 to $200,000 per person, (about the cost of a small house in some places but you get to live on a different planet instead!) if you really think about it, it's somewhat a reasonable cost for residency on a different planet. For those of you who have a tendency for cold feet, this is not a one-way trip as the vessel will have to make its way back to Earth. For the pioneers however, Elon estimates that it will take roughly 40-100 years for Mars to be fully self-sustaining. SpaceX hopes to send the first people to Mars by 2024. If you are interested in seeing the presentation you can find it here. During the presentation we get a short video of how the mission is suppose to go, alongside it you can see the exact same mission played in Kerbal Space Program.
Here is SpaceX's video:
Now here is the same mission simulated in KSP:
Now in KSP the situation is more controlled as there is substantially less variables that could cause failures but I'd like to think of it as a great way for the community to experience something of this stature in their own homes. Marcus House's video is a great representation of how the game should be played, just a enthusiast simulating space flight. The game is likely the best game out if you want a realistic experience with orbital flight and vessel launching.
This is not the first brush that the video game industry has had with ground breaking technology. NASA uses VR along with Unreal Engine to create an environment for their astronauts to train in. Also, a couple months ago Nvidia's CEO provided a DGX-1 supercomputer to OpenAI (a non-profit AI research company) to assist in democratizing artificial intelligence technology.
Gone are the days of people saying that video games are counter-productive, now this does not apply if you play Call of Duty all day (unless you're going to 360 no scope your way to enlisting). The real-world application of these "gaming companies" is now increasingly productive. It's amazing that the same technology we use to play video games is used for the research and development in advancing our civilization.