A Lunar Spacewalk Simulation to Support the Artemis Outreach Program and Promote Remote Public Engagement
Links to Fileshttps://ttu-ir.tdl.org/handle/2346/87215
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Type of Work8 pages
Peer reviewed conference article
Video game development is a discipline that has the capacity to create multi-objective systems, fulfilling the needs of Human In The Loop Testing as well as promote public immersion, and remote accessibility, via the World-Wide Web. University of Baltimore's contributions to the NASA S.U.I.T.S challenge clearly frames the utility of game development as a tool for distance engagement and usability feedback, using educational STEM themes. To accomplish these tasks, we created varying versions of the Lunar Surface Simulator via the Unity Game Editor in conjunction with Visual Studio; As well as its supporting 3D & 2D assets via Illustrator, Autodesk Maya (Non-Profit Educational License), Blender Modeling Engine and NASA's open source 3D library. Due to the nature of time-based survival simulations, our goal was aimed to engage players using the "Active Critical Learning Principle (Gee, 2007)" as a design framework. Simulation prototypes were designed to mimic how lost astronauts may solve problems using augmented and virtual reality systems on the Lunar Surface. To ensure user comprehension, custom UI design expanded options for players to choose from a variety of play styles that best suited their problem solving skills. User feedback was collected as post questionnaires to ensure player immersion and boost engagement on future iterations of the Lunar Surface Simulator. This manuscript describes how simulations can be used to engage the public on STEM topics. We share how the development of these simulations can be incorporated into HTML5 and other web and mobile platforms for remote public engagement, a tool that could be used in conjunction with remote educational activities. Finally, we discuss how web based accessibility has helped our team establish close rapport with video game and space enthusiasts of all ages during a global pandemic using the World-Wide Web.