Games. The final frontier.

America’s Army must have been a success, because now NASA is getting in on the game.

They’re launching a massively multiplayer online game about – what else? – space exploration. Way cool. They’ve got this idea that a vast online space simulator could be a great way to get kids interested in space exploration. They’ve just put out a document asking game companies to come to them with ideas for building the thing.

Here’s why they want to do it:

Virtual worlds with scientifically accurate simulations could permit learners to tinker with chemical reactions in living cells, practice operating and repairing expensive equipment, and experience microgravity – making it easier to grasp complex concepts and quickly transfer this understanding to practical problems. MMOs help players develop and exercise a skill set closely matching the thinking, planning, learning, and technical skills increasingly in demand by employers today. These skills include strategic thinking, interpretative analysis, problem solving, plan formulation and execution, team-building and collaboration, and adaptation to rapid change.

Emphasis added.  And they’re thinking of integrating the online world with their real deal, too –

“When the next people step onto the surface of the Moon in a little over a decade, your avatar could be with them.”

Sign me up.

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