Heads up, space fans! Angry Birds roosting at NASA


Share
Posted Online: March 25, 2013, 12:05 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) Angry Birds have a new space coop.

At NASA's invitation, the online game birds are roosting at Kennedy Space Center for the next 1 years in an effort to lure youngsters to the cosmic wonders of math and science.

The huge interactive exhibit opened March 22 and immediately packed in the kids, including this reporter's 7-year-old son who couldn't get enough of the mirrored maze and the design-your-own Angry Bird and play-the-game stations.

It's called Angry Birds Space Encounter and is the first of its kind.

Astronaut Donald Pettit, a chemical engineer and father of 12-year-old twin boys, announced the collaboration between NASA and Angry Birds creator Rovio Entertainment a year ago while living aboard the International Space Station. He squeezed in as much physics as he could in the YouTube announcement.

'Wow, this could be a great venue for getting some physics and getting some math and getting some science into something that has the connotation as just an empty brain-draining video game that sucks out the creativity from the minds of young people,' Pettit told The Associated Press at the grand opening.

'And so I thought, well, maybe I could help make a difference on this and bring the idea of a game up to a different level, where unbeknownst to the kids playing it, they're learning a little bit of math and physics at the same time.'

Enter the concepts of parabolic trajectories, hyperbolic trajectories, elliptical trajectories and even Holman transfer orbits, 'which is what we do with spacecraft going from Planet A to Planet B.'

'There's all this stuff latent in this game, particularly if you tend to be a geek, or an uber-geek or what I'm actually calling now a super-uber-geek,' Pettit said. 'All of this stuff can be mined out of this game and it can be used as an excuse to learn more. If you're not in any of those categories as a kid, you can still play the game and be entertained.'

Parent Alert: If a Ph.D. astronaut like Pettit endorses Angry Birds Space, it must be worthwhile.

Toss in space shuttle Atlantis, making its museum debut in another few months, and the educational value goes sky-high.

The $100 million Atlantis display, just a few minutes' stroll from Angry Birds Space Encounter, opens June 29.

Angry Birds is 'a nice prelude to Atlantis and it will be a nice complement as well,' especially for children, said John Stine, Delaware North Co.'s director of sales and events at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

'They're going to learn something about Angry Birds and they're going to really be inspired when they go to Atlantis.'

The Finnish-based Rovio Entertainment has another Angry Birds Space exhibit up its sleeve at another locale in the near future, said Dan Mitchell, the company's director of location-based entertainment.

'But you can't get a much more true-to-life space theme than being here at Kennedy Space Center,' Mitchell said as his 6-year-old daughter waited none too patiently at the exhibit entrance.

The 4,485-square-foot (417-square-meter) exhibit features six interactive stations, including 4-foot-high (1.2-meter-high) Eggsteroids Slingshots that children can use to launch mini Angry Birds at enemy pigs, and a laser-beam obstacle course set on the Red Planet.

This reporter's son had to be dragged away after more than an hour inside the noisy, darkened chamber noisy and dark for grown-ups, that is. The Florida sunlight beckoned, with the outdoor play area, rocket garden and shuttle launch-simulator ride.

'Want to go back to the Angry Birds?' he pleaded a few days later. 'Pleeeease.'

___

If You Go...

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER VISITOR COMPLEX: Located about an hour's drive east of Orlando, Fla.; http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/ . Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Adults, $50; children 3-11, $40 (plus tax). Angry Birds Space Encounter is included with regular admission. Unmanned rockets still soar from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, so check to see if a launch is coming up for double the fun.

NASA YOUTUBE ANGRY BIRDS ANNOUNCEMENT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxI1L1RiSJQ














 



Local events heading








  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.




(More History)