If the forthcoming Star Trek MMO isn't enough to satisfy your fantasies for epic space travel (or if you just like your MMOs served up with a healthy side of RL-relevant content), then do we have some news for you!
TN guest author Mark Wallace has posted a nice piece about NASA's
plans to develop an educational space MMO. They have
earmarked budgeted $3
million and have put out a call for proposals for the project. It's
all part of a larger strategy to increase public awareness and occupational interest
in the space program - like the 1960s Star Trek and Buck Rogers, but for
the 21st century, seducing a whole new crop of impressionable young
minds into being scientists, engineers, astronauts and such:
To accomplish the VSE goals of returning to the moon and going beyond to Mars, NASA must find ways to enhanced science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. This intramural call for proposal ideas seeks to develop a persistent, online, synthetic environment that will support NASA's STEM education goals and allow millions more American to share in the experience of NASA science and exploration virtually.
...NASA faces the prospect of having an insufficiency of trained professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields to fulfill the Vision for Space Exploration. The shortage of a highly skilled technical workforce is not a NASA-unique problem, but one faced by the Nation as a whole. It is shortsighted to think that NASA should expect to attract a greater proportion of a shrinking pool of new STEM graduates in the near future. The best course for NASA and the Nation is to expand the overall number of STEM graduates. Increasing the STEM graduate pool requires either guiding more students onto paths that lead to STEM degrees, increasing the percentage of students on those pathways that complete STEM degrees, or both.
It occurs to me that various military organizations could similarly leverage the rabid faction-orientation of games like World of Warcraft and get people riled up about fighting enemies, etc. What ever happened to all of those military MMO projects anyway?
There's still a month to register your intent if you'd like to put in a proposal! You might consider spending some quality time prepping your pitch, too...