Press Release

A New STEM Initiative to the International Space Station Launches More Inspiration for Games for Space

March 22, 2016

MJ Marggraff announces that the Gravity Games Challenge, a watershed STEM (Science, today, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program has developed the first “gravity game”, designed and developed by high-school students, which will be printed on a Made In Space, Inc. zero-gravity 3-D printer aboard the International Space Station (ISS), and then can be ‘played’ by ISS astronauts.

The Made In Space Advanced Manufacturing Facility, the zero-gravity 3-D printer aboard the ISS, is the first step to the future of manufacturing for off-Earth constructions in space. The printer provides ISS astronauts the ability to produce replacement parts and tools in a zero-gravity environment. The Gravity Games Challenge inspires students to use that printer and apply their skills to solve a problem in a practical, motivating, and fun program: The objective — to produce a hand-held game to be played by astronauts in zero-gravity. The pilot test and first Gravity Game design, called ‘Star Catcher’, was on the list of experiments for the astronauts and was delivered to the Station aboard the Orbital’s Saturn V rocket, launched from Cape Canaveral, on March 22.

“Guiding a brilliant, creative group of high-school students to work with Made In Space technology both motivates STEM participation and exposes students to a critical dimension of future human space travel—to build camaraderie on long-duration space flight,” says Gravity Games Challenge creator and project lead, MJ Marggraff. “According to Scott Kelly, our astronaut who spent a year on the Station, being in space is the biggest team sport there is.”

Current data forecast a critical shortage of one million STEM college graduates students by 2022. The Gravity Games Challenge is a partnership between Made In Space and the International Space Station, combining unique, engaging challenges to STEM-interested students, and designed to enhance curiosity and increase STEM retention with practical and exciting applications. This pilot is a template to engage and inspire future students for space.

“The brainstorming and effort that goes into developing a GravityGame is similar to the work that goes into creating more essential items,” says high-school junior, Ray Altenberg, co-captain of Gravity Games, from Campolindo High School in Moraga, California. “Our goal is to come up with something that would remain interesting for astronauts on, say, a trip to Mars, which would take two to four years. The idea that we can design a game, send a file, and have the game printed in zero gravity, millions of miles away, is pretty fantastic.”

MJ Marggraff, is the creator of The Gravity Games Challenge, and led the first team of students to produce the world’s – or space’s – first zero-gravity Made In Space game. MJ is also a pilot and an author of: “Finding The Wow”, about how, at 45, she followed her childhood dream, overcame her fears, and learned to fly. Available May 4, 2016 from Amazon books. www.findingthewow.com