A team from NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) led by Berta Alfonso proposed this Virtual Lab. The Virtual Lab concept was proposed in response to educators' requests to provide students access to NASA's instruments. Many of these instruments are too costly for schools and colleges to purchase and maintain. Specifically, this need was voiced within our discussions with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States.
By providing simulations of these microscopes, we could meet these needs in a way that did not conflict with KSC operations and security. By providing this software freely to all, NASA could also ensure equal access and availability to the local community, the nation, and beyond borders across the globe. Theresa Martinez now heads up the NASA KSC overseeing the Virtual Lab. We described the development of the Virtual Lab at length in the journal Simulation and Gaming last year (2006).
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