In the wake of new Obama administration NASA plans that pretty much eliminate all travels to the moon, NASA's new Moonbase Alpha game might be the only chance armchair astronauts get to experiment with moon landings.
The game is being distributed via Steam, an online retailer that could fairly accurately be termed the iTunes of video games, completely for free.
Moonbase Alpha is an Internet-based multiplayer game in which up to six players team up to build a lunar space station, create new structures like solar arrays, and overcome space challenges. At one point in the game, a meteor damages the player's newly built life support systems--the player then has to diagnose the damage and repair it in time.
NASA recruited game developer Virtual Heroes, the team responsible for the U.S. Army training game "America's Army," to help build a game that can keep a gamer's attention while still providing some sort of education about the space program. This Christian Science Monitor interview shows that those in charge of the game's development have been very careful to make the game, at its core, fun to play.
You can check out Moonbase Alpha here--it's free, so give it a whirl.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com