“Deflect asteroids. Help Science.”

Just to round up some tweets from this past week, about the so-called (so-hashed) #AsteroidDay: my highlight is this interactive tool – some serious science that is free for anyone to engage with, use, learn and impact upon.

This is the real deal, i.e. a realistic scientific modelling using five inter-related panels of data that let you play around with ways to deflect an asteroid from its projected impact on Earth.

I particularly liked the fact that the authors foreground a qualifier on the home page to forewarn users that this hypothetical scenario is indeed fictional and not reality.

At first glance this ‘app’ does not appear, to my mind’s eye at least, intuitive or ‘easy’ but I am yet to delve deeper. Besides, a level of intelligence in the design is surely natural given that it is the baby of some serious scientists.


A blast from the past… I recall playing the full-size arcade game, Asteroids, as a child. I was never, am still not, a so-called “gamer” – just not charmed by games, although I recall happily tapping away at the shooting button on Asteroids – doubtless because of its immediately intuitive, monkey-see-monkey-do playability.

Also its 2-D line drawing graphics were straightforward. Looking back, that game looked almost accurate given the grainy footage of much space/astrophotography. That game tapped into a basic instinct for survival – zap the asteroids before they directly impacted on your space craft. Many decades later, we all have the chance to play a much better game

If I was a teenage gamer then ‘Game over’ could well be my nickname.

P.s. Of course I had to search for the 1981 game – a few versions can be found online and I played the one on the Atari arcade site (complete with a woeful soundtrack that I don’t recall from the 1981 version – my musical tastes were already highly selective by ’81 so -surely?- I would not have stood in front of an arcade if it was playing this rubbish. By the way, three and a half decades later, I was still woeful at playing the game.




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