Kids going kerbal into space

An amazing edutaiment has kids, and big kids, going to space in thier own designs. This is the goal of Kerbal Space Program, a game available on steam.

In the thousands, yes thousands, of hours I’ve logged its incredible how today’s computers have the number crunching power to take my childhood lego master builder dreams and run them through a robust simulation.

To achieve results subconsciously the player is learning design methods, creativity and the very important life lesson of learning through failures. At first goals are simple to achieve, like get off the launchpad without blowing up. A few misplaced parts may lead to spontaneous component relocation.

Getting to orbit the first time is thrilling. Even when starting a new game with new mods that first orbit is a point of pride. I still remeber my first manned ship to thier Mars, called Duna. Watching the pilot land as his stattered ships wreckage floated down to join him. That meant making a better ship and with a spare seat to fly him home!

Speaking of mods a major one changes from the games smaller, thus easier, worlds to the full gravity, atmosphere and engines of real world rocket science. Others add planetary colonization, snacks and a host of ship parts.

When learning is fun the student will seek out learning. Given the ties to the real world players can delve into youtubes on history, track current space launches and study orbital mechanics my 6 year old self would never have had access to.

Whether a gamer, engineer-to-be or growing your confidence flying with those little green kerbals can launch your hopes.

 

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