Nasa scientists have released a new educational game for Apple iPHone and iPad devices.

Scientists have designed the new educational game, Sector 33, to challenge students in middle school and above to use basic math and problem-solving skills. The theme of the game is an air traffic controller.

In the game the player acts as air traffic controller guiding airplanes through a sector of airspace spanning Nevada and California. The player can adjust the planes' path and speed to safely, reach certain spots in the sky in the fastest time possible while keeping the planes a specific distance from each other.

An android version of this app will be available in the Android Marketplace in the coming months.

"Our hope is that Sector 33 will give students a sense of the importance of math in managing our nation's air traffic and, at the same time, interest them in pursuing a career in aeronautics," said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for aeronautics research in Nasa.

"Today's students respond positively to experiential learning," said Leland Melvin, associate administrator for education in Nasa. "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."

Sector 33, created by Nasa, is based on Smart Skies Line up with Math, an educational software title developed under the direction of Nasa's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate and distributed in cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Air Traffic Controllers Association. The app has been created to encourage students to learn math in a fun way.