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Fancy a trip to space? A smartphone game could get you there for free

Why it matters to you

Pricey tourist trips into space will be out of reach for most of us, but here’s a chance (OK, it’s a long shot) to bag a ride for free.

Thanks to tech, it’s easy to get an idea of what it must be like to spend time on the International Space Station (ISS). We can already explore the satellite’s interior and see how the astronauts live – how they make a coffee, wash their hair, and even use a space toilet. We can also enjoy those breathtaking views of Earth several hundred miles below.

So how do you like the idea of actually visiting the ISS? For free.

This is the extraordinary offer recently announced by a Finnish space industry company, and here’s the fun bit: A smartphone game will be key to getting you there.

Thanks to a crowdfunding campaign that quickly blasted through its €1.5m ($1.6m) target, the idea is on track to become a reality.

The mission is the brainchild of space media company Cohu Experience, which has designed the plan with space commercialization company Axiom Space and two education firms, GeekTime reported.

Collectively known as Space Nation, the team is developing a smartphone app featuring a bunch of training exercises for wannabe astronauts. Aimed for release in the fall, gamers who fancy the idea of a trip to the ISS will have to battle through intelligence quizzes, reasoning tests, and various other challenges to score points.

The top-performing 130 players will have the chance to attend a two-week bootcamp. And that’s where things get serious.

There you’ll have to take on a range of physical tests to ensure your body is up to the challenge of a trip into space.

The best 12 competitors will then face a demanding 12-week training course in the U.S. or Europe, after which one lucky guy or gal – and a runner-up in case of any subsequent issues with the winner – will be selected.

More: Enjoy an astronaut’s view of Earth with this 360 video

In the coming years, Axiom is hoping to attach a new facility to the ISS that’ll become independent when the space station is decommissioned. The plan is to operate astronaut missions of up to two months at a time, as well as week-long tourist trips, with the contest winner offered a seat on one of the launches.

Commenting on the contest, Cohu Experience founder Kalle Vähä-Jaakkola told GeekTime that the upcoming app should be useful for everyone who tries it, helping players “with nutrition, health, fitness, creative problem solving, critical thinking … and teamwork.”

It could also be your free ticket to space.


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