NOVA Labs doesn’t end with our explorations of the Sun, energy, and clouds. We're actively developing a number of other Labs that will explore equally big ideas with the help of authentic data collections, realistic scenarios, and science-based games.
We’re making plans to build an RNA Lab that will feature an enhanced version of the popular online game EteRNA. Like Foldit, its groundbreaking predecessor, EteRNA challenges players to solve fun visual puzzles. More importantly, these puzzles simulate actual molecules, which can be synthesized in a lab. So, in addition to learning about RNA and its many cellular functions through our videos and other content, users will have the opportunity to design entirely new molecules—and perhaps help scientists create the next breakthrough drug.
Image courtesy of EteRNA
With the help of engineers working at the front lines of this important field, we're starting to design a game filled with realistic challenges that become more complex as the user’s level of experience grows. Supporting the game will be video clips and other materials that help users develop basic programming skills and a better understanding of how to stay safe online.
Image courtesy of scanrail / iStockphoto
We’re working with MIT computational neuroscientist Sebastian Seung to develop a Lab that will challenge users to map some of the millions of neural connections that are involved in such functions as memory formation and storage. Combined with NOVA videos, Seung’s game, Eyewire, will help users learn about brain function while also contributing to real-world research.
Image courtesy of EyeWire
Beyond that? We’re not sure, but we can say that there seems to be no shortage of great topics, huge data sets, games, crowdsourcing engines, and other ways to involve regular citizens in scientific research. So, come back regularly to look for new Labs and please let us know if you have ideas for projects that you and your friends would like to see.