Kerbal Space Program 2 is featuring a big Jupiter mission in its weekly challenge.
KSP2, as the community calls it, is finishing up a weekly challenge that asks its fans to recreate the European Space Agency's JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer). The challenge expires tomorrow (May 12), so be sure to fly out there quickly.
JUICE is facing an antenna issue in deep space. The Kerbal team created the challenge as a way of generating "good vibes," for the ailing probe, creative director Nate Simpson wrote in the game's official forum.
Simpson asked fans to fly to the satellites of Jool, an in-planet game, to "polish up your gravity-assist chops." If you can get there, try to visit one of Jool's moons with your probe, or even all of them, he said.
KSP2, from Private Division and Intercept Games, released Feb. 24 in early access after the success of its predecessor Kerbal Space Program, which has been around since 2011. The original Kerbal is popular with space folks like SpaceX founder Elon Musk and United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno.
Players get to use very realistic physics in the game, with the help of a set of astronauts known as "kerbonauts." KSP2 shows amusing reactions from your brave kerbonauts as they experience extreme G-forces and work to fly new spacecraft on your behalf, all across interstellar space.
The tutorial system in the sequel is meant to be much easier, which Space.com editor-in-chief Tariq Malik experienced during a preview event. The tutorial system, Malik wrote, uses animations instead of text and makes the feel of the game more intuitive.
Not all features are available yet in the early access version, but by the time it is fully realized you should be able to see more alien planets, better spaceflight technology, customizable parts, time warp and other exploration tools and advanced planetary systems with clouds and terrain.
Simpson also said in the blog post that KSP2 will slow down its planned release schedule of early access updates, but emphasized the game remains well-funded and that the developers wanted to take their time.
"This project has from the beginning been viewed as a long-tail endeavor requiring a long-term investment," he said. "We are not worried about keeping the lights on, and we will be delivering all of the promised roadmap features."
Elizabeth Howell is the co-author of "Why Am I Taller?" (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book about space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.
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Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace