Have you dreamed of practicing anti-gravity botany like Mark Watney in The Martian? Or are you just fascinated by space in general? Well now you can “become” an astronaut without even having to don a pressurized suit (or do hours and hours of training).
NASA released “Space Science Investigations: Plant Growth,” an app aiming to educate users about what’s going on in the International Space Station (ISS), as well as NASA’s mission to grow plants in the space station using the Vegetable Production System. The app, available for both iOS and Android, launched early in December.
So, if you’ve ever wanted to climb aboard the ISS, this is your chance. The space station in the game is a replica of the real one up in space. But this replica isn’t just for show—you can interact with it as if you were there, too. Tap on floating objects and modules as you wander around the ISS to learn more about the station’s unique features.
The game is structured around completing missions for Naomi, a fellow astronaut in charge of the plant growth project, so she can grow enough vegetables to create a salad for lunch. She has you complete missions for her while you navigate the space station, all the while learning about NASA’s botanical project.
Though it might sound like a grade-school level educational game, this one is surprisingly fun and interesting for adults, too. Rae Paoletta, a space writer at tech-site Gizmodo, deemed the game “Sims’ in Space,” and noted how completing the tasks was a surprisingly difficult—even for someone more familiar with space than the average person. Learning how to control your screen and float through the ISS “without gravity” takes some getting used to. Also, as some users have noted, the game might make you nauseous—just like a real astronaut!