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Universe Sandbox is an interactive space gravity simulator video game and educational software. Using Universe Sandbox, users can see the effects of gravity on objects in the universe and run scale simulations of the Solar System, various galaxies or other simulations, while at the same time interacting and maintaining control over gravity, time, and other objects in the universe, such as moons, planets, asteroids, comets, and black holes. The original Universe Sandbox was only available for Windows-based PCs, but an updated version, Universe Sandbox ², was released for Windows, macOS, and Linux in 2017.
Universe Sandbox was designed primarily by Dan Dixon, who worked on the educational project for over fifteen years before launching the full version in May 2008. Dixon had worked full-time on the project since 2010, founding the company Giant Army the following year. Since then, he has hired eight additional designers for the company.
Both realistic and fictional simulations appear in Universe Sandbox, with each area of outer space being placed by default or according to the player's preference. Real simulations include the Solar System, which includes the eight planets, five minor planets, 160+ moons, and hundreds of asteroids; and predictions of future events such as the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxy collision which will occur in 3.8 to 4.5 billion years. During gameplay, the player may be introduced to the regions that include the 100 largest bodies in the Solar System, the nearest 1000 stars to the Sun or the nearest 70 galaxies to the Milky Way. A visual size comparison of the largest known stars and planets can be explored, and real time animations of events like the Apophis asteroid passing near Earth in the year 2029 can be watched. Comets can be observed colliding into planets, such as the Shoemaker Levy 9's collision with Jupiter. The trans-Neptunian object 2008 KV42 with a retrograde motion orbit can be seen in a simulation. Moons are able to be converged into planets, and may be able to affect the planet's atmosphere or minerals. Players are able to view the Rho Cancri (55 Cancri) star in the constellation of Cancer; they can see the five known planets in the system. The Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft can be seen in its encounters with Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Visual Lagrange points of the Earth and Moon can be seen, along with the galaxy and star system. The gamma-ray burst locations, found in distant galaxies, can be found. Supernovas are shown in real time.
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Universe Sandbox System Requirements
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP / 7 / 8
- Processor: 1,5 GHz
- RAM: 1 GB
- Video Card: DirectX 9
- Hard disk space: 250 MB