NASA, Kerbal Space Program Want You To Stop Virtual Asteroids


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Kerbal Space Program is one of the most fascinating PC games of the last few years. It's a hardcore space exploration simulator that has players building rockets to send little green men into space. It's incredibly challenging, and it takes most players dozens of hours before they build anything that can even escape the atmosphere.

With a game like that, it wouldn't be long before NASA came knocking.

The Kerbal Space Program development team announced today that it has entered into a partnership with NASA to produce a series of mission's based upon the agency's very real asteroid redirect mission. For the past few years, the agency has been looking into ways to deflect or redirect life threatening asteroids and now Kerbal Space Program players can do the same.

Kerbal Space Program is about giving gamers the chance to dream big, even if they’re not astrophysicists. This relationship with NASA, the very beacon of big dreams and imagination, is going to give players a real opportunity to learn about the universe we’re living in,” Kerbal Space Program lead developer Felipe Falanghe said. “The Asteroid Redirect Mission is going to be one of the rewarding and challenging accomplishments in all of gaming. We can’t wait to see our current and future players take on this mission and perhaps, teach NASA a few tricks along the way.”

Here's what players will tackle in the new update:

  • Identify: Detect, target, distinguish and select the asteroids that you want to move
  • Redirect: Build a rocket ship and set course to intercept the moving asteroid, then position your ship to redirect the asteroid’s trajectory
  • Research: Send your Kerbals on EVA (extravehicular activity) around the asteroids to conduct experiments on the object and gather valuable scientific data as it (and you) hurtle through deep space
  • While this new mission will provide new items and challenges to players, NASA also hopes it inspires the next generation of astrophysicists and astronauts:

    “The collaboration with Kerbal Space Program can help drive interest by future explorers in next-generation technology development and deep space exploration, said Bob Jacobs, deputy associate administrator for Communications at NASA. “Having an element of the experience based in the reality of NASA’s exploration initiatives empower players to manage their own space program while getting valuable insight into the reality of studying asteroids as a next step in getting to Mars.”

    The add-on mission will launch for Kerbal Space Program later this year. You'll get a chance to see it in action before then this weekend at SXSW Gaming.

    Image via Kerbal Space Program