Search the Stars for Galactic Goodies!

Math Blaster® is having its first scavenger hunt and wants to do it right by celebrating an exciting, new school year.  Back-to-school items have appeared throughout the space station and Blasters have been issued the challenge of collecting these items for valuable credits and boosts to their rank.

Explore every inch of your favorite Math Blaster® locations such as the Math Academy, Fitness Training, and Ready Room as you search for all the items on your list.  Keep a sharp eye out while you travel through the space station since you never know when you might catch a glimpse of a hidden object.

Completing this scavenger hunt will require speed and determination but if you are up to the task, you will become a seasoned, accomplished Blaster.  Getting into school spirit will be more fun and easier than ever as Math Blaster® helps you welcome in a new school year.

Endeavour Space Shuttle Landing

Who would have thought that they would ever be able to see a NASA space shuttle in real life? Thousands of people got this rare chance as the Endeavour Space Shuttle flew through the skies on a cross-country tour to its new home in Southern California.

Our friend, Frankie, from the JumpStart World was able to see Endeavor when he was in Long Beach, Ca this past Friday.

Endeavour had a 19-year-long career which spanned from May 1992 to May 2011. This space shuttle’s name was derived from a national competition that involved elementary and secondary students who selected names based on an exploratory or research sea vessel.

Do you want to know a fun fact about the Endeavour? Its name is spelled with the British spelling of the word “endeavor.” The American shuttle was named after a British exploration ship called the Endeavour; this ship made major discoveries around the world, and was very influential in expanding the knowledge about the world around us. Just like this British ship, the Endeavour space shuttle made monumental discoveries and accomplished numerous, extraordinary missions.

NASA had three shuttles to offer as a donation to museums after it shut down its shuttle program and decommissioned its shuttles. Out of over 20 different organizations who gave proposals to NASA to have a shuttle exhibit, the CaliforniaScienceCenter in Los Angeles was chosen to be the future and permanent home of the Endeavour.

On September 21, 2012, the Endeavour finally landed at the Los AngelesInternationalAirport after doing a tour of the state of California. The shuttle, flying atop NASA’s Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, began its cross-country journey at the KennedySpaceCenter in Orlando, Florida and made its way to California. Once in California, the Endeavour made a tour of California and flew over the heads of people from the Bay Area to right near the famous Hollywood Sign.

The last stretch of the Endeavour’s journey will end on October 13, 2012, when it will make a 12-mile journey through the streets of Los Angeles to become a part of the CaliforniaScienceCenter. According to the CaliforniaScienceCenter, the amazing thing about this shuttle and its trek through Los Angeles is that it will be the “first, last and only time a space shuttle will travel through urban, public city streets.”

Be on the lookout for more information on this space shuttle’s incredible journey, and let us know about what interests you the most about space!

Did you ever have dreams of being an astronaut one day? Have you ever wanted to be a scientist who studies space or creates cool things like space shuttles and space rovers like the Curiosity? Let us know by commenting below!

Reach For The Stars And Achieve!

For all of you hard-working Blasters out there, you are in luck. There is a new feature in Math Blaster that will let you go directly to any game of your choice through the Achievements section of your bPad.

When you click on the bPad, which is featured on the bottom right-hand corner of your screen, you will see many options to choose from. However, if you want to find out how your Blaster training is progressing, you will want to check out the Achievements section.

Once you have arrived at your Achievements board, you have the ability to see all of the awards you have received as you went through your training as a Blaster cadet in BlasterAcademy. If you click on one of the sections (perhaps your favorite game), you can see how many more times you need to play the game in order to gain more awards.

All you have left to do is click the “Go Now” button and it will take you directly to your game. This is a quick and easy way for to continue to rank up and become a great Blaster who can valiantly defend BlasterAcademy.

Good luck in your training, Blasters!

Are You Curious About Curiosity?

Have you heard about what NASA’s Mars rover, Curiosity, has been doing lately?  Just to review, Curiosity is the rover that contains NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, and its main job is to conduct various experiments in order to see if life is, or has been, possible on Mars.  In the short time it has been there, Curiosity has stumbled upon some incredible findings while shedding new light on previous discoveries!

 

ImageSince first landing on the floor of Mars’ Gale Crater on August 6, 2012, Curiosity has been busy investigating the Red Planet. The rover is essentially a portable laboratory, equipped with different types of technology so it can share all of its findings with us.

A major component of this innovative technology is Curiosity’s imaging devices, which allows it to send detailed photographs of Mars back to us.  One of these imaging devices is the Mast Camera, which has been used to take 360-degree panorama images of the area surrounding Curiosity’s location.  In the ongoing search for life on Mars, Curiosity has used its cameras to send amazing images to Earth, particularly of Mars’ landscape. 

According to MSNBC, Scientists have found that like Earth, Mars’ surface has been shaped by plate tectonics.  Until recently, it was believed that only Earth’s crust was affected by this phenomenon.  This discovery is crucial to our understanding of Mars’ ability to support life as UCLA geologist An Lin believes plate tectonics play a major role in replenishing a planet’s nutrients that living organisms need to survive.

Another device is the Navigation Camera, which searches the sky for clouds.  Curiosity also utilizes the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument (SAM), which studies samples of Mars’ atmosphere.  These instruments aid in our understanding of Mars’ potential for life as an inhospitable atmosphere would eliminate any life forms.  According to Yahoo! News, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory member Paul Haynes confirmed the existence of carbon dioxide snow clouds in Mars’ atmosphere.  While dry ice snowflakes fall from Mars’ atmosphere, similarities have been found between Earth’s and Mars’ snow clouds, suggesting further similarities between the planets’ abilities to support life.

Luckily, since Curiosity landed on Mars, there have not been many technical or mechanical issues. It has continued to rove around Mars, observing the various characteristics of the Red Planet.  Curiosity is exploring new frontiers and it is exciting to receive all of the information it has to offer!

Find your cosmic companions

With so many fellow Blasters running around the space station, it can be easy to lose track of your closest B.F.F.’s.  However, now you will be able to find your buddies in even the most crowded areas since you can give your B.F.F.’s nicknames. Simply select your B.F.F. List and choose which friend you want to give a nickname. 

 

Once your B.F.F. has been chosen, type in the nickname you would like to give him or her and save. 

  

From now on, whenever you see your B.F.F. that new nickname will appear, and it will only be visible to you.  It is that easy!  With new B.F.F. nicknames you can locate your friends in a flash, making protecting the galaxy that much easier and more fun.

Guess what, Blasters!

There’s a new and exciting opportunity coming for all of you who love to talk about…well, the things that you love. Max is calling for the Blaster Academy’s cadets to submit an awesome article, on a topic of their choosing. Each week he will be selecting one article, from these submissions, to be featured front and center on an upcoming issue of the Math Blaster Times! Not sure where to start? Here are some topics that you could write about:

  • What’s your favorite Math Blaster game?
    What do you like about it, and why is it your favorite?
  • What’s your favorite subject in school, and why do you like it?
  • What do you like to do in your free time?

It’s your turn to be in the spotlight! But, if you want to be a part of this cool opportunity and get featured in the Math Blaster Times, you’ll need to make sure that each of your submission meets the following requirements:

  • We need your cadet’s username*
  • Your article can’t be more than 150 words

Our Editor, Max cannot wait to read about you and what you’re interested in. Get ready to blast off in to fame and submit your article, today!

* Please keep in mind that these generic usernames are created by combining a set of preselected names in-game, which assures that all of your child’s account information is kept private.

“Once in a Blue Moon”

Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Once in a blue moon”? If you have, did you ever think about where that saying could have came from?

If you were outside gazing at the stars last Friday, August 31st, you would have caught a glimpse of a large full moon out in the night sky. What you probably didn’t realize was that this full moon was one of the two full moons in August. You might be thinking, “But we’re only supposed to have one full moon a month!” — and if you are, you would be right.

The moon goes through a “lunar cycle,” meaning that it goes through phases (such as full, quarter, half, and new moon) — essentially, we can view the moon from Earth as a constantly changing fraction that can be figured out like a math equation! This lunar cycle takes about 29.5 days to complete, from new moon to full moon. If you divide that by the number of days in a year (365 days), you end up with about 12 lunar cycles (one for each month!). That means for each season of the year — spring, summer, fall and winter — there are 3 full moons, and each of these moons has a specific seasonal name (such as Moon After Yule and Grain Moon).

Here’s the catch: there are a couple more days in the calendar year than there are days in the 12 lunar cycles. What does this mean? It means that every few years (about 2.7, to be exact) the days of the year catch up with an extra lunar cycle, and one of the seasons gets a fourth full moon — one extra full moon in addition to the three full moons in a season. When this happens, the third moon is called the “Blue Moon.”

It would make sense to think that the fourth moon would be the Blue Moon, since it’s the extra one added on, right? Actually, the reason why the third moon is called the Blue Moon is because all of the other seasonal full moons have established and set names — we can’t change those because they go along with the times and seasons of the year, so the third moon gets the special title!

The next Blue Moon is supposed to appear in July of 2015. It’s going to be a while before we can see another one, but in the meantime, all of us can brush up on our facts about the moon and solar system in time for the next awesome thing that happens in space!