NASA’s awesome space photography makes me want to explore

The James Webb Space Telescope—or JWST—launched on Christmas day, 2021. I expect by now you’ve seen the results (opens in new tab). The telescope is giving us the deepest look we’ve ever seen into the universe, and, while I’m not having an existential crisis about how small and insignificant humans are, I am struck with wonder.

These images are awesome. And not the version of the word we use when your friend says they can pick you up on the way to the cinema. Awesome as in awe-inspiring. Awesome as in jaw-dropping and perspective-changing. The pictures from the JWST even made me cry a little bit. But they also made me want to play Starfield more than Bethesda ever has.

Until recently, my primary excitement about Starfield has been the return of the developers’ weird-ass characters (opens in new tab). Their over-elasticated faces stretching with emotion and strange inter-battle quips are one of my favourite parts of Bethesda’s previous works, and seeing how that translates to space will be a personal highlight. While others on the PC Gamer team debated if the 1,000 planets will be boring (opens in new tab) or not (opens in new tab), I was focused on the interpersonal relationships of spaceflight. But with the arrival of those images from NASA, I have this overwhelming feeling that I need to know what’s out there. And Starfield is gaming’s next big adventure into space.

(Image credit: NASA)

Of course, I’ve always been interested in the exploration aspect of Starfield, but the JWST amplified that curiosity. Just the first image, the SMACS 0723 (opens in new tab), was enough to baffle me. We’re used to seeing stars and galaxies in concept. But an image where those items are warped by gravity to show us some of the oldest galaxies is conceptually ridiculous. And then to be told that what you’re seeing is the equivalent of if you were holding a grain at arms length of the sky is brain-breaking. And the SMACS 0723 was just the warm up act for what NASA revealed on July 12.