Commemorating the World Space Week, NASA has launched a new mobile application that makes gamers in charge of a communications network, donning the role of space communications network manager who supports scientific missions.

The application, entitled "Space Communications and Navigation: NetworKing," is apparently developed by NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., for the iPad and iPhone.

NetworKing provides an interactive, 3-D experience that facilitates an insider's perspective on how mission controllers and scientists communicate with spacecraft and satellites using the space, deep space and near Earth networks.

In a press statement issued by NASA, Barbara Adde, policy and strategic communications director – Space Communications and Navigation Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said: "This game introduces the complex world of space communications to gamers. It gives players the opportunity to enjoy a challenging game, while absorbing the basic concepts of space communications. The game provides an engaging way to increase interest in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and opens minds to potential careers in these fields."

With NetworKing, players build large and complex communication networks that support client satellites conducting scientific missions. Players who upgrade their communication networks acquire complex clients, such as the International Space Station and NASA's Hubble and Kepler space telescopes.

Providing insight into the complex world of communications between astronauts, mission controllers, scientists and satellites in real mission scenarios, the game is not just challenging, but also entertaining.

In addition to the mobile application, NetworKing also is made available free on the NASA 3-D Resources website. Players can access the game on their web browsers or it can be downloaded and run on PC or Macintosh operating systems.