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ENGAGE TREND REPORT 04.04.12
NASA Joins the [Games] Space Race!

One of the most prominent, intriguing and mysterious organizations in the world is joining the games space in order to boost public outreach. NASA has produced several games to teach the public about the latest in aeronautics technology and research, including a Facebook trivia game called Space Race Blastoff and an air traffic control simulator dubbed Sector 33. Interestingly, the organization is following the trend as games become the tool of choice for educating people in a fun and engaging fashion. In an organization where impossibilities are made possible and where the sky is literally not the limit, using video games to de-mystify the happenings inside NASA to the public is an effective way to renew peoples' interests.

Greg Condon, an aeronautics expert of Smart Skies says Sector 33 "uses the math that air traffic controllers really use—they have to do it all in their head. And it's really middle school math, so we didn't have to dumb anything down."

Brian Dunbar, manager of NASA.gov, says, "The nice thing is, you can sneak some real information into games. To take our new Facebook game as an example, no one—especially kids these days—wants to sit down to read a bunch of trivia. But when you put it in a game, with a competitive and a social element around it, you'll find that people will be more interested." By real information he means that these games are designed to strengthen and test the skills of the player by using real science used by NASA employees.

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