Yep, it's Friday, get ready to waste some time and feel fine doing it. Skip your next Facebook break and try out the addictive game Super Planet Crash—build planetary systems, watch as they destroy themselves, collect points and think about gravitational relationships for fun! Super Planet Crash was made by Stefano Meschiari, whose real job involves real planets. As a postdoc astronomer at UT Austin and a big contributor to Seismic 2—software to aid "exploring and analyzing exoplanetary data"—Meschiari knows what's up with interplanetary intrigue.
The goal: Build the most complex star system that can last for 500 years. Simple, right? It is simple to play, but dang if it isn't hard to gather planets in a stable way. Choose up to 12 planets, ranging in size from Earth-sized to Dwarf Star. Choose their proximity to the central star and their rotating speed, and try to anticipate their orbits. If you've done good, your collection will stay within the 2.00 AU range, won't crash into one another and will be complex enough to rack up points until you pass the five century mark. Extra points for incorporating denser fellows in the pack and sacrificing orbital simplicity. The current high-scorer clocked over 320,000,000 points, which after a few runs might seem impossible, but remember that you're competing against actual astrophysicists. As Meschiari told Motherboard, "People are berating me because it's making them waste valuable time when they should be writing proposals for the Hubble telescope." So don't feel bad if you're not quite able to predict your planets complex relationships over time. But do try it—nothing says mindless fun like playing God.