Categories: NASATechnology

Test Your Knowledge and Skills with NASA’s New Online Games

[/caption]This week, NASA has launched its first multi-player online game on Facebook to test players’ knowledge of the space program, as well as an interactive air traffic control mobile game for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.

The first game, Space Race Blastoff asks players questions such as “Who was the first American to walk in space?” and “Who launched the first liquid-fueled rocket?”

Sector 33 is the second game, which puts the player in the role of a lead air traffic controller. The players task is to guide air traffic safely through “Sector 33” as quickly as possible. To achieve their goal, players must choose the most efficient route and make strategic speed changes.

Are you up for the challenges NASA has put forth in Space Race Blastoff and Sector 33 ?

Space Race Blastoff tests players’ knowledge of NASA history, technology, science and pop culture. When players answer correctly, they earn in-game “badges” which depict NASA astronauts, spacecraft and celestial objects. Points are also awarded for correct answers, and players can redeem the points to obtain more badges, including “premium” badges.

Space Race Blastoff character select screen. Image credit: NASA
The game play experience is fairly straight forward: Players choose their avatar and then answer 10 multiple-choice questions. Correct answers earn the player 100 points. The first player to answer correctly earns a 20-point bonus. The winner of the round advances to a bonus round where they can earn additional points and a badge.

“Space Race Blastoff opens NASA’s history and research to a wide new audience of people accustomed to using social media,” said David Weaver, NASA’s associate administrator for communications. “Space experts and novices will learn new things about how exploration continues to impact our world.”

While NASA is emphasizing the “multi-player” aspect of the game by making the game available through Facebook, players can also opt to play solo games.

Sector 33 screenshot. Image Credit: NASA
Ever wonder what it’s really like to work as an Air Traffic Controller?

Put yourself in this scenario:

It’s a stormy night in Northern California as air traffic is quickly approaching the San Francisco Bay Area from the East. You are in charge of Sector 33 which all flights must pass through.

Can you handle the job of guiding planes safely through Sector 33 as quickly as possible?

Sector 33 is designed to be an interactive game to interest students in aeronautics-related careers and connect mathematics and problem solving to the real world.

Some additional features of Sector 33 are:

  • 35 problems featuring two to five airplanes
  • Speed and route controls
  • Weather obstacles
  • Four levels of controller certification
  • In-game introduction, hints, and help section
  • Extra videos
  • Moonbase Alpha screenshot. Image credit: NASA
    You can play Space Race Blastoff at: http://apps.facebook.com/spacerace

    Download the Sector 33 App for free for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch through the App store

    For those of you a bit more “hard-core” about your gaming, NASA continues to offer their “Moonbase Alpha” demo via STEAM.

    Ray Sanders

    In addition to being a published astronomer specializing in variable stars, Ray Sanders has blogged for Universe Today, and The Planetary Society blog, among others.

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