Simple, Interactive Simulations Make Complex NASA Computational Applications Understandable to Kids of All Ages
March, 2005

The NASA Earth Science Technology Office (ESTO) Computational Technologies (CT) Project and Truth-N-Beauty Software recently concluded a 2-year partnership to communicate how ESTO/CT Round-3 investigators use high-performance computing to better understand and predict natural phenomena. This partnership produced 12 "science interactives," mini-simulations that allow anyone to change physical parameters and watch the effects.

The interactives illustrate computational applications from across the Earth-Sun System and Universe areas, with topics as varied as climate, earthquakes, invasive species, space weather, and gamma ray bursts. Accompanying stories provide lay-accessible background on the research topics. ESTO/CT investigators are quoted experts in these stories.

Truth-N-Beauty established publishing agreements with some of the world's leading science Web sites. Astronomy Magazine (www.astronomy.com) has two interactives in its "Astro for Kids" section. Discover Magazine (www.discover.com) has promoted three interactives with highly visible animated banners on its home page and plans to publish two additional interactives. A Scientific American (www.sciam.com) "Recreations" page dedicates an "Interactives Games" category to four interactives.

In addition to the Web sites, the interactives have been demonstrated in NASA exhibits at the SuperComputing2002 (Baltimore) and SuperComputing2003 (Phoenix) conferences as well as at the American Geophysical Union Fall 2004 Meeting (San Francisco). ESTO/CT is currently working with NASA partners to promote availability of the interactives to science museums across the country.

Go to: http://www.sciam.com/recreations_directory.cfm and scroll down to Interactive Games to try a few of these interactive simulations for yourself.