Wannabe astronaut? A smartphone game could be your ticket for a free ride

astronaut mobile game contest
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 1.5 million euro ($1.6 million) 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 boot camp. 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 United States 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.

In the coming years, Axiom is hoping to attach a new facility to the ISS that will 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 weeklong 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.

Emerging Tech

In a first for humankind, China is growing plants on the moon

Having recently landed a probe on the far side of the moon, China announced that it managed to grow the first plant on the moon, too. Here's why that matters for deep space travel.

This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

The latest iterations of MacOS offer a native Split View feature that can automatically divide screen space between two applications. Here's how to use Split View on a Mac, adjust it as needed, and how it can help out.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: New Motorola flip phone, ads in space, smart umbrella

On this episode of Digital Trends Live we discussed trending headlines like foldable smartphones and advertising in space. We also sat down with Caleb Denison and Ronan Glon to talk about the world of tech post CES 2019.

You could be gaming on AMD’s Navi graphics card before the end of the summer

If you're waiting for a new graphics card from AMD that doesn't cost $700, you may have to wait for Navi. But that card may not be far away, with new rumors suggesting we could see a July launch.

Sharing your best gameplay moments is quick and easy on the Xbox One

The current generation of consoles make it easier than ever to share your gaming highlights with the world. Here's a quick guide on how you can record a gameplay video on Xbox One.

Blizzard’s latest hiring spree is likely for the unannounced ‘Diablo 4’

Activision Blizzard is hiring for more than a dozen positions on unannounced Diablo projects. Some of the roles are likely for the unannounced Diablo 4, the next mainline entry in the series.

Everything we know about 'Red Dead Online', including the new mode Gun Rush

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.

Fortnite V-Bucks being used by criminals for money laundering on dark web

Criminals are using Fortnite's V-Bucks for money laundering schemes on the dark web. Epic Games, apparently, is not doing enough to prevent the game from being used for the illegal activity.

Relive the 8-bit gaming era with the best NES emulators for Android and PC

For years prior to the release of the NES Classic, emulators have offered a means to every NES game ever created without needing the console. Here are the best NES emulators for Android and PC.

Mortal Kombat 11 Kollector’s Edition comes with a life-size Scorpion mask

The Mortal Kombat 11 Kollector's Edition will come with a human-sized replica of the mask of Scorpion, one of the most iconic fighters of the series. NetherRealm Studios has also announced the game's preorder bonuses.

Xbox app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!