STARCON is a huge X-Team event that serves as a reminder to stay forever curious. This year, for an entire month, we celebrated our sense of wonder, the act of discovery, and our hunger for understanding the unknown and the far away. This blog post is a summary of the biggest events of STARCON 2021.
STARCON began with the return of an X-Team #vs favorite: Typefighters. X-Teamers cracked their knuckles and stretched their fingers to compete for the highest score in the typing game ZType. In the game, enemy spaceships with words attached to them fly toward you. When you type the right word, your spaceship shoots off a rocket that will destroy the spaceship with the corresponding word.
A simple concept, but well-executed and ridiculously addictive. Many X-Teamers reached a score of over 4,000 points, a difficult feat that proved their keyboard chops. No one, however, came close to Ed Rocha, who scored an incredible 17,334 points and won the competition.
The Arena: Alien
The next big event of STARCON was a fight in The Arena, our Slack-based battle royale game, but with an extra twist: a Xenomorph had been let loose on the USCSS Nostromo and it was taking down X-Teamers one by one. Not only that, but the Xenomorph had a dizzying 2,000 HP and proved itself incredibly hard to find, let alone shoot.
X-Teamers fought valiantly and it was Evana Puig who ultimately killed the Xenomorph. But the fighting didn't stop there. X-Teamers turned on each other until only three were left standing, each of whom won the X-Team Bomber Jacket pictured below.
Q&A with Dr. Avi Loeb
Next up came a Q&A with the renowned Dr. Avi Loeb, theoretical physicist and the longest-running chair of the Harvard Astronomy department. Dr. Loeb founded the Black Hole Initiative, one of the only centers that focuses purely on black holes, and went viral in 2018 when he published a paper that suggested Oumuamua may have been an alien spacecraft.
The chat, moderated by X-Teamer Michal Kawalec, was enlightening and entertaining. The topics ranged from self-replicating space technology to UFOs to the coexistence of religion and science. We summarized the most mind-blowing insights in this Twitter thread:
The Trivia Dungeon
Just like our last big event, GameCon 2021, STARCON ended with the Trivia Dungeon, a live-stream charity show. In this Trivia Dungeon, X-Teamers answered space and sci-fi trivia questions to raise money for Almukantarat, a Polish youth astronomy camp.
The Dungeon saw the return of everyone's favorite video game pianist Dr. Martin Leung, who opened with a Star Wars Medley that he'd learned especially for the show. As with the last Trivia Dungeon, between all the screenshot and song-based questions, a few epic heroes visited us too:
- Dr. Pierre Chang from the TV series Lost (20:44).
- Admiral William Adama from Battlestar Galactica (36:29).
- Commander William Riker from Star Trek: The Next Generation (56:39).
At the end of the live-stream, X-Teamers had answered enough questions correctly to have generated $3,500 for Almukantarat, which will sponsor at least eight students for a trip to the summer camp.
These were the four biggest events of STARCON 2021, but there was so much more going on: STARCON-themed bounties, new Vault collectibles, our first LGBT community collaboration, a Moonshot virtual escape room, etc.
STARCON was a reminder that space is the frontier of both science and our imagination. The stars and their planets fill us with wonder and inspire us to do great things in life. So much of space is empty and far away, yet if we look up and wonder what's out there, it is hard to underestimate the impact it can have on our lives.
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