Yahoo Games reports
that NASA has contacted serious game developers Information in Place, Virtual Heroes, and Project Whitecard to develop a newly announced massively multiplayer online video game. Astronaut: Moon, Mars & Beyond
is a subscription-based MMO title that charges players with exploring space and completing missions within a realistic virtual world.
The game is being developed with guidance from NASA astronauts, scientists, and engineers to ensure realism and authenticity. Choosing from simulated professions in fields such as robotics, space geology, astrobiology, and mechanical engineering, players will complete individual and team-based challenges using realistic NASA vehicles and equipment.
"We want to create a fun, compelling gaming experience that will give players the chance to learn about science and engineering careers while they play the game," said Daniel Laughlin, project manager at NASA Learning Technologies. "NASA is committed to attracting more students to science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields of study and careers. We hope this game will inspire players to consider those careers."
Prior to working on Astronaut: Moon, Mars & Beyond
, serious games developer Virtual Heroes created the America's Army
series of recruitment titles for the U.S. Department of Defense. Project Whitecard is currently developing the space simulation Project Moonwalk
in partnership with the Virtual Reality Centre of Canada. Information in Place's current projects include Hazmat Responder, Virtual Astronaut
, and Virtual Congress
, along with a number of other educational, safety, and training titles.
Astronaut: Moon, Mars & Beyond
will be released next year. A playable demo version will be available by the end of 2009.