Skip to main content
Localize site content
The Space Surveyors logo. A creative illustration with the text "Space Surveyors" in block text on a red circle, surrounded by various illustrated astronomical objects like supernovae, galaxies, asteroids, and even some clouds.

Space Surveyors Game

About the game

Space Surveyors is a fun, interactive game where YOU move the Rubin telescope around the sky. How many stars, galaxies, supernovae, comets, and asteroids can you catch in one minute, before the sun rises?

We encourage you to experiment with different strategies for scanning the sky! See how your score changes if you chase targets as they appear, versus scanning the sky in a more systematic way (avoiding those pesky clouds, of course). Which way lets you capture more objects for a higher score?

Can you beat our high scores? Take a screenshot of your score and share it with us on social media with the tag #SpaceSurveyors—you could end up on our leaderboard!

A screenshot of Space Surveyors gameplay
The Space Surveyors scoreboard in June 2023


Why are there clouds?

The sky over Rubin Observatory is dry and clear on most nights, but occasionally clouds block the view. The software that drives Rubin’s telescope is programmed to avoid clouds whenever possible

Why does the capturing area look like that?

The shape of the capturing area is modeled after the focal plane of Rubin’s 3200 megapixel camera—the largest digital camera ever built!

What’s the best gameplay strategy?

Hey now, no cheating to get a high score!

Just kidding—Space Surveyors is a (very) simplified version of how Rubin works. You might notice that chasing targets as they appear means you spend a lot of time just moving the telescope, instead of capturing images to detect objects. That’s why Rubin will scan the sky systematically, and why systematic scanning gives you a higher Space Surveyors score. It’s all about spending more time capturing images of the sky, and less time moving the telescope!

Are the airplanes there to trick me?


I don’t see any satellites, shouldn’t there be satellites?

Good point—the number of satellites in orbit around Earth has increased a LOT in recent years. We decided not to include them in the first version of our game, but we might launch some in the future

About Rubin

Rubin Observatory’s 8.4-meter telescope and 3200 megapixel camera—the largest digital camera ever built—will scan the entire Southern Hemisphere sky every few nights. During its 10-year survey, Rubin will observe billions of stars and galaxies, and detect millions of asteroids and thousands of comets we’ve never seen before. Rubin’s enormous data set will help scientists answer some of our biggest questions about the Universe, revolutionizing the fields of astronomy and astrophysics.

Game Credits

  • Designer: José Pinto
  • Developer: Alexandra Goff
  • Astronomy data: Clare Higgs
  • Additional development: Blake Mason
  • Testing: Lauren Corlies, Stephanie Deppe, Ardis Herrold, Kristen Metzger, Eric Rosas