Orbital Simulator (MIT Mystery Hunt 2020)

Orbital Simulator
MIT Mystery Hunt 2020
Orbital Simulator.png
The puzzle's icon, a tall spinning ride with rocket ships as seats.
Author(s)Justin Graham
AnswerClick to revealPRESENT DAY

Orbital Simulator is a Music ID puzzle (among other things) from the Spaceopolis round of the 2020 MIT Mystery Hunt. It's presented as a interactive map with certain cities marked with a number and a rocket ship.

Puzzle Elements[edit | edit source]

  • Interactive Media - Map - The puzzle is presented as a Google map with several points marked on it, allowing for zooming and scrolling (which is necessary to identify the cities at those points). Clicking on the markers links solvers to...
  • Hint in Flavortext - The flavortext hints towards the connection between the songs and the numbers. The mention of NASA and "first thing in the morning" should lead to...
  • Astronomy - Space Travel - ...NASA Wakeup Calls. Each song was sent by NASA to a Space Shuttle mission to wake up the astronauts onboard, which matches the number provided on that song's label.
  • Hint in Flavortext - The flavortext also hints at the next step, with the mention of NOAA and the reuse of the "first thing in the morning" clue. This leads to...
  • Geography - Time Zones - ...Sunrise Times. Using the date of each of the wake-up calls for each of the missions, solvers can find out what time the "official" sunrise was (via the NOAA site of course).
  • Reordering - Chronological - Once solvers have the times, they need to order them from earliest to latest, and then...
  • Alphanumeric Substitution Cipher - ...take the minutes of the time (For example, STS 104/Berlin's time is 5:14, so take 14) and convert it to a letter via A1Z26.

Final AnswerPRESENT DAY(Meaning both "Today" and "A day with presents"