In Mass Effect: Andromeda players will take on the role of the Pathfinder, the leader of an expedition to colonize a new world. It is the embodiment of humanity’s dream of space exploration and, according to one in-game Easter Egg, it’s all thanks to SpaceX.
When you take control of the main character in Andromeda, you venture into their private quarters, which contain a set of shelves in the back of the room. In a cubby that sits about waist high is a “SpaceX model.”
That model looks an awful lot like the Falcon Heavy, a new launch vehicle scheduled to go up this year. Capable of lifting 54 metric tons, or the equivalent of a fully-loaded 737, SpaceX says it “will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two.”
It’s also fully reusable.
The Falcon Heavy is the next phase of a long journey for CEO and space enthusiast Elon Musk’s and his team at SpaceX, one that will open up the possibility of arranging a private mission to Mars for the first time.
Interacting with the model in Andromeda opens up an entry in the game’s Codex. It seems that in Mass Effect’s version of the future, the Falcon Heavy was humanity’s first real step toward living among the stars.
From the Codex:
After the historic NASA Apollo moon landings in 1969, the drive for crewed space exploration slowed as government funding dried up. The move towards cheaper unmanned probes and orbital stations gained traction instead, as one of the central obstacles was the expense of creating first-stage booster rockets that would be lost after each flight.
But the lure of sending people into the cosmos never lost its draw. In the early 21st century, a private company called SpaceX pioneered efforts in sustainable space travel by developing a reusable launch system. It revolutionized the field as the first entity, government or private, to successfully launch and then safely recover an orbital booster rocket intact, allowing it to be reused in future launches. Reusable hardware placed lower-cost, sustainable space travel within reach.
Galvanized by SpaceX’s achievements, a renaissance in space exploration followed. Reusable launch system technology later became pivotal in establishing the European Space Agency’s first permanent settlement on Mars, Lowell City, in 2103.
Fans of the first Mass Effect will remember visiting Lowell City. The location was unlocked once players reached level 20.
For those of us still waiting for Andromeda to unlock, we’ll have to settle for a tour of Eos Chasma, home to the fictional city, instead. The first 10 hours are available now for EA Access members, and will be open to all on Windows PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One players starting March 21.