NASA launches hi-tech free online game Moonbase Alpha

Last week, NASA came as close to going back to the moon as it probably will for decades. The agency has launched Moonbase Alpha, a 3D lunar adventure available free through online streaming game service Steam. You can have teams of up to six players as you work to restore power and other critical functions to a lunar outpost struck by a meteor. This isn’t your dad’s Atari Lunar Lander, the game has some seriously wicked looking graphics. I couldn’t try it out because it’s not available for OSX, but the screen shots and game trailers make it look epic. The game has been in the works since 2005, taking its inspiration and using the expertise from fellow government outreach game America’s Army.

Personally, I think one footnote that slipped out with the release is far more compelling than Moonbase Alpha. NASA is working on a much larger massively multiplayer online game project that will create a virtual world where players can work cooperatively to carry out missions and explore strange new worlds.

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