NASA Goes Massively Multiplayer With Astronaut

NASA wanted a massively multiplayer online game, and now they're getting one, signing three separate development studios to work on Astronaut: Moon, Mars, and Beyond.

While video game players have long dreamed of traveling into the stars and meeting exotic alien species, real outer space is relatively boring. Now NASA seeks to change all of that with the development of a massively multiplayer online exploration game called Astronaut: Moon, Mars, and Beyond. NASA has selected three development studios to work on the project - Project Whitecard, Information in Place, and Virtual Heroes - the last of which did work on America's Army.

Astronaut will have players team up in order to complete various missions involving the past, present, and near future of space exploration. How exciting is that?

"Players will pick a profession like a roboticist, space geologist, astrobiologist or mechanical engineer and work together as a team as they explore space and complete missions, establishing bases and outposts and traveling to the farthest reaches of the solar system," explained Jerry Heneghan, founder and CEO of Virtual Heroes, which has previously worked on the U.S. Department of Defense's "America's Army" videogame. "The game will offer both individual challenges and team-based objectives to encourage players to use real-life applications of science, math and engineering to unlock new in-game vehicles, spacesuits, robotics and mining apparatus that will propel them further into space."

Wow. Not that exciting at all. I mean, the robototicist and astrobiologist classes sound like a hoot, but space geologist? That's just geologist with the word space in front of it. That's lazy.

Astronaut: Moon, Mars, and Beyond is being groomed for release sometime next year. Let's hope that between now and then they come up with a name that doesn't make me want to buy bath towels.

NASA Unveils New Online Game [Yahoo! Games - Thanks Jeremy!]