Sometimes, it's easy to forget what a serendipitous marvel our universe really is. At least, until you've tried building your own. Super Planet Crash is a browser-based simulation that requires players to forge a planetary system capable of surviving at least 500 years. The interface is simple: left-click to place up to 11 astronomical objects of varying sizes anywhere within the defined limits. What makes it challenging is how the gravitational field of each celestial body affects others around it. Even a single dwarf star can throw everything out of orbit.
Super Planet Crash was created by Stefano Meschiari, a postdoctoral astronomer at the University of Texas at Austin. It is based on the latest version of System Console, a scientific software package developed at The University of California, Santa Cruz. According to Meschiari's blog, he is planning to eventually release Super Planet Crash on GitHub.