uSPHERE is an interactive simulation of our solar system, in which the user is becoming a Mission Specialist to explore the gravity of planets.
In March 2013, during the second semester of my bachelor course, we were given the task of designing and realizing an explanatory piece, an interactive visualization, simulation, or an interactive game about a scientific phenomenon or process. The focus should be on the conception of maximum, diverse and intuitive interactivity. This resulted in three possible subject areas: biology, chemistry and physics.
In various brainstorming sessions, we examined each of the three areas primarily by comparing them with our own experiences, official curricula and teaching materials from the school education sector.
However, we set ourselves the premise that the topic should be as unknown as possible or have the potential to fascinate. This resulted in different approaches: from the Millikan experiment and the origin of light, to aerodynamics, to the simulation of an organism. We even considered cultural references and considered combining the Greek myth of Icarus and his father Daidalos with physical calculations of heat generation. In the end, we decided on one of our early ideas: Gravity. Gravity, especially in connection with a visualization of our solar system, seemed to us to be a very powerful theme, both in terms of aesthetics and scientific content. There is hardly any need to talk about the fascination of the whole subject.
Astronomy is considered one of the oldest sciences, which shows how much attention and curiosity it has always aroused in people. For us the attraction and the challenge was to make such ungraspable things like gravity and our solar system tangible and understandable.