Boston’s Museum of Science has entered the metaverse, by way of the Red Planet.
The museum announced on Tuesday a partnership with Roblox, the online gaming platform that connects people around the world through immersive 3D experiences. The museum’s new educational offering, “Mission: Mars,” challenges players to navigate the planet, design vehicles, and complete exploratory missions with friends “to survive on Mars,” according to a release.
The Boston museum is the first to launch a project supported by Roblox’s Community Fund, which offers grants to educational organizations “to develop innovative learning experiences” that leverage the platform in compelling ways, the release said.
The immersive “Mission: Mars” is for all ages, and encourages students to engage in the engineering design process. It’s intended for both formal and informal learning.
“It enables individuals to step into a Mars survival suit, navigate terrain in a hi-tech Mars Rover, help their team in specific level-based missions to discover past evidence of water, collect samples of water ice, and rescue fellow explorers from certain doom,” the release said.
The museum’s entry into the metaverse is part of its goal to reach 100 million people in museums, classrooms, and online by 2030, according to Museum of Science President Tim Ritchie.
“It’s not enough for the museum to be the most popular destination for families in New England and to share hands-on curricula with educators and millions of students around the world. We also want to leap into the metaverse to meet students where they are with top-quality STEM content,” Ritchie said.
Roblox “captured the attention of as much as two-thirds of US kids ages 9 to 12 during the pandemic,” according to Bloomberg. The museum also partnered with video game developer Filament Games for the new offering.
“The in-game mechanics and environmental design in ‘Mission: Mars’ are all based on true scientific principles, powered by actual data collected by NASA and Mars,” said Dan White, CEO of Filament Games.
The Museum of Science is also home to EiE, a pre-K through eighth grade curricula program. “Mission: Mars” will include a suite of instructional materials and supplements for teachers to use in their classrooms, according to the release.