For centuries, nothing has sparked humanities curiosity more than space. Thanks to relatively recent advances in telescopic and imaging technology, we have made fantastics discoveries such as the expansion of the universe, the nature of galaxies, and black holes. While we continue to study the universe, it is important to reach out to the public. As such, the purpose of this project is to create an app that will interest the public in the work of the astronomical imaging lab and the field of astronomy in general.
Dr. Kartaltepe’s research focuses on extragalactic space, which is to say space beyond the Milky Way. Therefore, the app will primarily focus on how galaxies have developed since the “Big Bang” and how they interact with each other. The central piece of the app will be a game. The end goal is for the game to take the user through a simplified version of the life of a galaxy, teaching the user about galaxy traits and interactions along the way. Users will control their own galaxy, moving it through space while encountering molecular clouds, other galaxies, galaxy clusters, black holes, and other objects. In the upcoming weeks, my goal is to program at least the essential mechanics and graphics of the game, as well as implement a points system based upon how long the user’s galaxy survives and how much it interacts with different objects. This system, combined with hazards and time pressure also within the game, will hopefully create high replay value.
In the upcoming weeks, I would also like to put a gallery containing images and simulations of galaxies used in the game as well as extra images into the app. Additionally, I hope to create a page that describes the work being done at the astronomical imaging lab and in the field of astronomy. The page will also provide links to astronomy websites so the user can easily learn more about the events and processes they are exposed to in the game.