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Kerbal Space Program advancing scientific interest

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Since Kerbal Space Program wasn't complex enough (and that, friends, is called sarcasm), developers are adding a NASA-based mission. This comes as no surprise, considering that several NASA employees play KSP themselves and have observed it teach young children orbital mechanics that even college students struggle to understand.

This new expansion will require the player to divert an apocalypse-bringing asteroid into a safe orbit and then land on it, mirroring a current NASA goal of landing astronauts on an asteroid for the first time. It is supposed to be the most challenging mission yet.

In addition to this new pack, KSP is getting a makeover as the tentatively-named "KerbalEdu" and will be brought to elementary schools by TeacherGaming LLC, the makers of "MinecraftEdu." TeacherGaming said their goal is to not "ruin the game"--that is, preserve its integrity as something fun--and is doing most of the modifications so that Squad can continue refining the original KSP and working on the NASA mission.

This is reassuring, since Squad developers have heard from fans that KSP helped them wrap their minds around the heavy science of aerospace and in some cases encouraged them to change their majors in that direction. To give that kind of scientific exposure to elementary schoolers in the form of a game can only be a positive addition to the curriculum.

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