A Minecraft player set out to build the known universe block by block

Christopher Slayton spent two months studying black holes, identifying the colors of Saturn’s rings and viewing his home planet from space.

Slayton, 18, didn’t have to leave his desk to do it. He set about building the entire observable universe block by block in Minecraft, a video game in which users build and explore worlds.

By the end, he felt like he had traveled to every corner of the universe.

“Everyone freaks out about the power and vastness of the universe, which I never really understood that well,” he said. But after working on it for a month and 15 days to build it and another two weeks to create a YouTube video revealing it, “I realized even more how beautiful it is.”

Slayton, known as ChrisDaCow on his Minecraft-focused YouTube, Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok accounts, has been playing the game for nearly a decade, he said. He started posting videos of his “builds” which are landscapes he creates in the game on YouTube in 2019. This channel has become his priority since he graduated from high school this spring.

College may be on his radar, but it’s not time yet, Slayton said. He will soon start a lifeguard job while also expanding his YouTube content to reach more followers.

With almost 25,000 subscribers on YouTube, Slayton said the response to this video motivated him to keep pursuing ambitious ideas.

His intention is to make the videos more interesting than just narration, coupled with videos of a player using the UI, he said. Slayton, who lives in San Diego, said he wants to tell stories through Minecraft.

For the quest for the structure of the universe video, he began by skydiving to see the planet from a different perspective before working to create his version of the universe. “The only way to truly appreciate the beauty of our planet is to jump out of a plane,” he said in the video.

He consulted photos for every detail in the Minecraft universe and re-learned mathematical concepts to build his creation to scale.

“It’s really satisfying to be able to fly through some galaxies or look at a black hole,” he said.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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