NASA has launched an alternate reality game called DUST to get teens excited about analyzing data, testing theories and communicating ideas. It’s also supposed to attract girls and minority teens to STEM problem-solving. (I wonder why the kids in the promo trailer are white.)
In the game, dust from a meteor shower puts every adult in a coma. “It is up to the players, whose target ages are 13-17, to save the world [and their parents’ lives] by the end of seven weeks of play.”
Players receive new parts of the story and science clues every few days through social media, email and game apps. They interact with other players and with fictional characters.
NASA, Brigham Young and the University of Maryland developers collaborated on the game with help from college students. Middle schoolers tested mobile apps and the player community website.