February 1, 2012
By Jim Moore
NASA has launched two free games aimed at inspiring the next generation of engineers and aviators—an air traffic control game adapted for Apple iPhone and iPad devices, and a multi-player space and technology trivia game hosted on Facebook.
Sector 33 puts players in the air traffic controller’s seat, directing virtual aircraft in a virtual airspace spanning California and Nevada. An Android version is also being developed. Designed for students in middle school and above, Sector 33 challenges players to solve air traffic math problems. Players set the speed and course of aircraft in order to reach destinations in the shortest possible time while maintaining traffic separation.
"Today's students respond positively to experiential learning," said Leland Melvin, NASA's associate administrator for education, in a news release. "Using an interactive game to spark their interest, while at the same time teaching them fundamental math concepts, is a win-win scenario. It is a perfect way to help cultivate the next generation of engineers and technologists."
Space Race Blastoff tests knowledge of space program facts and history, awarding virtual badges depicting astronauts, spacecraft, and celestial objects.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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