Martian Boneyards

Blue Mars Science Center: Designing a Virtual Science Learning Environment

Lead Staff:
Jodi Asbell-Clarke
Teon Edwards


Through the Blue Mars Science Center project, EdGE and Virtual Space Entertainment (VSE) developed Martian Boneyards—a game of scientific collaboration in a high-definition massively-multiplayer online environment (MMO) called Blue Mars.

Martian Boneyards, which launched in 2010 and ran for four months, presented an unfolding story set in the terraformed world of Arcadia with a mystery about how bones and artifacts came together near the outskirts of the region. Players hunted for the bones and other artifacts, compared, sorted, identified, measured, and otherwise analyzed them, and used their findings as evidence to build and revise claims about what may have occurred.

Martian Boneyards raised many questions that required scientific investigation and the game rewarded players for gathering and analyzing data and eventually using the data of the community to build evidence-based claims about what happened in the boneyards.



Connected Work

Martian Boneyards: Sustained Scientific Inquiry in a Social Digital Game by Jodi Asbell-Clarke (PDF)