BLiSS Sim Marks First Educational App

You're stuck on the Moon or relocated to Mars—how are you going to survive for months and possibly years without resupply?

In 2012 the NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future offered this in the BLiSS Sim, the first science education app we've developed for the iPad. The BLiSS Sim is now available for free download from the iTunes Store.

The app plugs users into NASA's Bioregenerative Life Support System research to plan a plant-based, Earth-like solution for oxygen, water, and food production. In the BLiSS Sim players learn how four plant types—wheat, potatoes, soybeans, and lettuce—can be grown and harvested to supply human oxygen, water, and food needs.

An Engaging App
"There are thousands of apps available in the iTunes Store," said Laurie Ruberg, associate director of the Center for Educational Technologies. "What makes this app unique and highly desirable is that it uses a game format to engage youth and adults in the challenges of supporting humans in space or extreme environments on Earth."

In the BLiSS Sim players learn how four plant types—wheat, potatoes, soybeans, and lettuce—can be grown and harvested to supply human oxygen, water, and food needs.

NASA's Bioregenerative Life Support System research was conducted at a variety of NASA centers and academic institutions but was primarily supported by the Biological Sciences Branch at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Classroom of the Future first put that research to use in BioBLAST®, its award-winning biology education CD-ROM published in 1999.

Food for Thought
Chuck Wood, director of the Center for Educational Technologies and a longtime NASA scientist, said the BLiSS Sim provides food for thought, so to speak, regarding long-term space missions.

"At home we might plan our meals, make a shopping list, and purchase our perishable and processed food supplies at the grocery store as we need them. On a Moon or Mars base we must plan far in advance the crops we plant and grow because we'll rely on them for our supply of oxygen, water, and food," Wood said.

"This is what the BLiSS Sim iPad app is designed to do—help future space travelers learn how to plan a crop growth system that can support a human crew for long periods of time when frequent resupply is not feasible. Taking advantage of the education potential of an iPad app is a great way for youth and adults alike to learn what's involved in long-duration space travel."

We plan to create other educational apps on future projects.

© 1999-2019 by Wheeling Jesuit University/Center for Educational Technologies®.
316 Washington Ave., Wheeling WV, 26003-6243. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.