NASA has released an interactive, educational video game called NetworKing that depicts how the Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN) network operates.
"For any young person who ever dreamed of one day contributing to space missions, NetworKing lets players develop a kingdom of multiple space communication networks working together to support space missions," Barbara Adde, policy and strategic communications director for SCaN at NASA Headquarters in Washington said in a statement.
To successfully construct fast and efficient communication networks, players must first establish command stations around the world and accept clients conducting space missions, such as satellites and space telescopes. Resources are earned throughout the game as players continue to acquire more clients. Players can strategically use accumulated resources to enhance and increase their networks' capabilities.
Players with the most integrated communications networks will have the ability to acquire more complex clients, such as the International Space Station, Hubble Space Telescope and the Kepler mission.
Developed by the Information Technology Office at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., NetworKing gives players an insider's perspective into how astronauts, mission controllers and scientists communicate during space missions.
"As a simple and fun introduction to the complex world of space communications, NetworKing gives players the opportunity to enjoy a challenging game while absorbing the basic concepts of space communication," Daniel Laughlin, games researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md said.
"It's an engaging way to increase interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics areas of study and open minds to potential careers in those fields," he added.
NetworKing is available to the public for play on the NASA 3D Resources Web site. Players can access the game using an Internet browser. It can be downloaded and run on both a PC and Macintosh operating system. To play the NetworKing game, visit:
However, in conjunction with NetworKing, the 3D Resources Web site also links visitors to the Station Spacewalk Interactive Game and the SCaN Interactive Demo that demonstrate the interaction between SCaN's ground-and-space facilities and NASA spacecraft.