recommended reading

NASA’s Satellite Insight gaming app isn’t educational or fun


This story is part of Nextgov’s Building Better Apps project.

NASA’s Satellite Insight mobile app aims to teach users about satellite data collection and give them a fun gaming experience at the same time. It fails on both counts, our reviewers said.

Players of the Tetris-like game are instructed to collect falling blocks with the same design then tap a button that eliminates those block collections to prevent the screen from filling up. The game is meant to simulate the challenge of organizing and processing the many types of data -- on solar energy, magnetic fields, radiation and other phenomena -- collected by NASA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, R series or GOES-R.

The game is no more educational than Tetris or Bejeweled, though, unless players read deeply into the instructions, our reviewers said.

Our reviewers gave the game 1.7 points out of 5.

“It’s a great concept to combine education with game playing, but the execution is poor,” said Yaron Oren, chief operating officer at iSpeech.

In addition to not offering much useful information, our reviewers thought Satellite Insight simply failed as a game.

“This is the type of game that three years ago people might have considered playing,” said Ted Chan, founder of “It is decently executed in terms of game mechanics. But it doesn’t draw the user in that much compared to other games available and it doesn’t have much education value. To get any engagement in the gaming space today, the bar is very high.”

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.