10 Mar 2017

The 22 kilobyte galaxy

From Nine To Noon, 10:06 am on 10 March 2017

Scientists recently announced they'd discovered seven earth-sized planets orbiting a nearby star, but their discovery had been predicted already - by a computer game.

Andromeda Galaxy

Andromeda Galaxy Photo: Public domain

Two weeks ago scientists made a stunning announcement - they'd discovered seven earth-sized planets orbiting a nearby star called TRAPPIST 1.

But their discovery had already been predicted - by a computer game.

Elite is a series of games based on flying spaceships around model of the entire galaxy, complete with stars, planets, moons and asteroids.

The first version was released back in 1984 and ran on just 22 kilobytes of memory - that's less information than you'd usually get in your average email.

Elite co-creator and godfather of gaming David Braben has been working on computer games ever since.

His latest version of Elite, Elite Dangerous, raised nearly $NZD2.8 million in crowdfunding and features hundreds of millions of stars, black holes, planets, moons and asteroids - populated by thousands of players trading, exploring and fighting in a virtual representation of the Milky Way galaxy.