Archive for April, 2015

Happy Earth Day!

Universe-Sandbox-²-Earth Day

First observed in 1970, Earth Day now gathers over 1 billion people in 192 countries every year on April 22 to celebrate our planet and raise awareness of the issues it faces. According to Earth Day Network, that makes it the largest civic observance in the world.

The growth of this movement toward the care and appreciation for our planet is evident all around us. Environmental awareness is no longer reserved for activists and radicals.  “Going green” and “reducing your footprint” have become familiar, if not trendy, concepts.

But despite this, human-caused climate change continues to take us further down the road toward inevitable crisis. It’s a bleak forecast, but one that we, as individuals, nations, and a global community, must confront if we want to create the necessary changes.

Earth in Universe Sandbox ²

In Universe Sandbox ², we’ve added a simple climate simulation for Earth. We hope it helps in understanding how our climate works, and how fragile our planet is.

Here are a few things you can try in Universe Sandbox ²:

  1. Simulate Future Climate Scenarios

    • We’ve included the ability to simulate scenarios based on data from the most recent IPCC report
    • We recommend trying the Climate Scenarios activity (Home -> Main tab)
    • You’ll learn how to use the different models and graph Earth’s temperature over time
    • Learn more about simulating these scenarios in our previous blog post
  2. Tidally lock the Earth to the Sun


    • Select Earth (in the default Solar System sim)
    • In Earth’s properties window, click the “Motion” tab
    • Scroll down and click “Tidally Lock”
    • Now one side of the planet will always face the Sun
    • And the other side of the planet will begin to freeze over
    • Tidal locking is why there’s a “dark side of the moon.” From here on Earth, we can only ever see the same side
  3. Turn Earth into a Comet or a SnowballUniverse-Sandbox-²-Earth-Comets

    • Try moving the Earth closer to the sun to turn it into a comet.
    • Or move the Earth out past Mars and watch it freeze over. (Load the sim “Earths Next to Sun” to see multiple Earths at various distances from the Sun)


If you don’t own Universe Sandbox ², you can get instant access to the alpha through our website:

Alpha 15 Preview: Performance Boosts & UI Changes

We’ve been working hard on Alpha 15. It’s coming, slowly but surely.

In our last post, we talked about the upcoming performance improvements. Because of this substantial physics rewrite, it’s taking some time to fully integrate the changes and restore everything to working condition. But the results are worth it; we’re seeing some big performance boosts.

We’ve also made some major changes to the UI. It’s still a work-in-progress, but we’re very excited about its direction.


The changes to the UI have made it easier to control the simulation and explore some features which were previously buried under layers of menus. Realistic physics and data make up the engine that powers Universe Sandbox ², but the key to revealing the wonders of our universe lies within the ability to interact, manipulate, and experiment. For us, this means making it easy to answer the question, “What would happen if I chucked the Earth at the Sun?”

Keep your eyes peeled for Alpha 15.

If you don’t own Universe Sandbox ², you can get instant access to the alpha on our website: