Tetris meets weather in NASA's 'Satellite Insight' iPhone game

Your friends might think you're a dork for playing this new iPhone game from NASA and NOAA, based on the next-gen GOES-R satellites, but screw them, you're saving the world.

The gameplay of "Satellite Insight" is as simple as it is addictive. Spot falling blocks of different colors that make groups of three or more, then tap the satellite icon to "transport" them to government servers. You know, like that other game. If the blocks build up to the top of the screen, tornado outbreaks will tear apart entire cities and immense paroxysms of solar radiation will fry our astronauts. Or something like that: I had to stop before the end at 431 points to write this post.

The colors of the squares represent data that the first GOES-R satellite will collect when it is launched in 2015. The blue blocks signify cloud-and-smoke data from the Advanced Baseline Imager, yellow blocks are solar-flare radiation readings from the Extreme UV/X-ray Irradiance Sensor, orange blocks are charged particles from the thunderstorm-hunting Geostationary Lightning Mapper, and so on.

Here's NOAA/NASA's come-on:

No matter how thirsty you are, it's not easy to drink from a fire hose. But that's similar to the challenge of capturing and storing the huge blast of images and information that the new GOES-R weather satellite will gather. (It launches in 2015.)

In the Satellite Insight game, you will have to think and move fast to keep up with the massive flow of different types of data being captured by GOES-R.

Head on over to iTunes to grab the app for free. You can also play it online here. (Hat tip to the L.A. Times.)