Even if you've abandoned your childhood dream of captaining the Starship Enterprise, you can still explore the outer reaches of the universe with free space simulation software called SpaceEngine.
According to the program's Web site, "all types of celestial objects are represented," meaning you can steer spaceships over moons, stars, asteroids and across entire galaxies.
Writing for PC World, Cassandra Khaw explains the program's virtual piloting capabilities: "Not only can you zip through this virtual universe like the Silver Surfer with Free mode, but you can choose between Spacecraft mode and Aircraft mode, both of which utilize inertia to simulate a rigid body in zero gravity. The only thing that SpaceEngine is missing is a contingent of little green men."
Unfortunately for space fans with less-than-stellar computer power, the program takes up a rather sizable amount of processing speed.
You can check out the system requirements and download the game at en.spaceengine.org.
[PC World via io9]