1. Middle School Teacher Reviewers Needed - Online Astrobiology "Game"

    Screenshot from the Life Underground Game where students take the role of investigators of extreme subsurface environments looking for microbial life. Image credit:
    Screenshot from the Life Underground Game where students take the role of investigators of extreme subsurface environments looking for microbial life.

    The NASA Astrobiology Institute has funded the production of an exciting, new educational game/software called Life Underground. In the game, students take on the role of a young scientist navigating and investigating a subsurface environment, searching for and characterizing microbial life.

    The development team at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts is seeking educator reviewers for the game.

    Teachers – please participate if you’re able! Others, please pass on the opportunity as appropriate. There is a token compensation being offered…a $25 Amazon gift card!

    Contact Daniella Scalice (daniella.m.scalice@nasa.gov), NAI’s Education and Public Outreach Lead, with any questions, and thank you for any help you can provide.


    Download the flyer.



    LIFE UNDERGROUND
    The Life Underground game is an interactive outreach experience for 7th and 8th grade classrooms. The goal is for students to visualize microscopic life at a range of terrestrial and extraterrestrial subsurface conditions. Students take the role of a young scientist investigating extreme subsurface environments for microbial life. They will navigate through extreme conditions, including those of temperature, pressure, acidity, and energy limitations, and they will begin to recognize what characterizes life in this context.

    Set in the near future, players explore the subsurface environment in an advanced vehicle, which doubles as a mobile laboratory, and are aided by a team of scientists. Players navigate the mine and connected caves, take samples, isolate organisms, and conduct experiments to learn more about the extremophiles they uncover. The players will manipulate various environmental factors to provoke different reactions from different microbes, depending on the organisms’ intrinsic traits.

    As a scientific investigator, players will encounter and manipulate simulations of the tools of the research team. The game will introduce students to extremophiles in an interactive, immersive environment. By allowing them to create experiments with virtual microbial life, it will also reinforce their understanding of the scientific method. Ultimately, the Life Underground game’s relatable characters, engaging exploration, and sense of adventure will inspire players to explore STEM-based careers.