A University of Arizona professor has combined his expertise in space mission planning and technology with his passion for strategy gaming to create Xtronaut: The Game of Solar System Exploration.
The Xtronaut game, developed by Professor Dante Lauretta, captures
the various challenges and excitement of planning a space mission.
Lauretta co-founded Xtronaut
Enterprises with space entrepreneur Michael Lyon to increase
awareness of NASA's asteroid sample return mission named OSIRIS-REx.
In 2011, NASA selected the asteroid sample return mission,
OSIRIS-REx – a $1 billion mission to send a robotic spacecraft to
an asteroid named "Bennu", collect a sample of the
asteroid, and return to Earth. Unfortunately, the
education outreach budget for OSIRIS-REx was eliminated in 2013. In
response, mission leader Dante
Lauretta and space entrepreneur Michael
Lyon founded Xtronaut Enterprises to develop innovative
activities associated with space exploration.
Xtronaut gives two to four players ages seven and up the chance to
develop space missions and explore the solar system. The game is
based on real planetary missions and rocket science. It also contains
elements of politics and strategy that are inspired by the real-life
situations that space missions face. The game has been tested with
players that range from elementary school students to graduate
students in planetary sciences and mission scientists.