NASA MMO To Get “Demo” In January

We reported a while back that NASA had commissioned their own MMO, which is now called Astronaut: Moon Mars and Beyond. Anyway, it turns out that there will be a demo for this called “Moonbase Alpha” next month. This was apparently announced months ago, but the internet has only just noticed. But better late than never, thanks to Massively. There’s even a teaser video, which I’ve posted below. It’s worth taking into consideration that this is intended to be an educational game, rather than a shiny commercial product, when you subject it to your fizz ing neural soup of analysis. And keep an eye on the official site if this project interests you.


  1. Theoban says:

    Nerf moonbuggies man, they’re totally OP

  2. Schaulustiger says:

    While I like the basic idea of a “serious” space game, I think that neither being an MMO nor having a shoddy trailer without sound helps.

  3. Azazel says:


  4. Tyshalle says:

    There’s no sound in space! So its totally realistic and stuff….




    • frymaster says:

      you’d still get _something_ from your footsteps, via direct conduction
      ditto the buggy motor

  5. Gold Blend says:

    Well, sound doesn’t travel in a vacuum, but they could have at least added some music or radio communications.

  6. jti says:

    Sound cannot travel in a vacuum, even though Star Wars says differently.

  7. Matt says:

    I thought the lack of sound was deliberate, with it being in space and all. I could be wrong.

  8. Owen says:

    Played a version of this at MIGS and wasn’t exactly amazed. Obviously it’s difficult to judge it when you’re the only one playing an MMO though.

  9. Lack_26 says:

    I wish it was first person, with the ability to free-look inside your helmet to some degree, with the sound of your body as the only sound. But I’ve really wanted a more realistic space game for a while now.

  10. bergotronic says:

    They better go full on SIM with this one – otherwise – I will rage.

    Also, if the game has some built-in voice comms… it should will include a static / BSG voice effect.

    Also for those interesting in the Space Simulation Genre (not the pew pew type), the orbiter project has been releasing new 2009 BETA RC versions…. Aerobraking anyone? link to & link to

  11. Sagan says:

    I can imagine that it would be fascinating to walk around planets, at least if they get you to think “this is a real place” while playing the game.
    But I don’t really see how they are going to turn that into a game. Especially an MMO. There will just be hundreds of people jumping around and ruining the atmosphere.

    And the earth is displayed wrong. Right at the beginning where he turns away from it it is apparent that it is just a texture on a wall that is quite near. I hope they change that before release, because in my mind that is a very important thing to get right.

  12. a says:

    This looks like a very bad idea. An educational MMO seems like something at odds with it’s self.

  13. pepper says:

    It looks pretty nice, although i doubt it will be very educational. But it may yield some new interest among the younger people.

  14. Steve says:

    They should have called it: Astronaut: Moon Mars and Orbits. Then it would have been A:MMO.

  15. Sajmn says:

    Q: Patch up 10 leaking canisters
    Dirty magazine of +1 morale -2 hygiene
    5 Gold rocks
    25 EXP

  16. Kurt Lennon says:

    Cool! I hope it’s realistic enough to allow you to deceive the public on a massive scale at taxpayer’s expense like the real NASA!

  17. Taillefer says:

    Looks fake.

  18. SmallIvoryKnight says:

    2002 called, they want their graphics card back.

    • moyogo says:

      1997 called, they want their humor back.

      I don’t think graphics will hold an educational game back.

  19. sleepygamer says:

    Nerf oxygen kthnx, it’s obviously giving him an unfair advantage.

    This game sucks, no blood elf, no dice.

    *Folds arms*

  20. Richard Clayton says:

    I thought that was a barbeque in the picture. Turns out I was wrong. Not interested now…

  21. Shalrath says:

    Why the hell would you do a sim-like space MMO game.. in 3rd person?

  22. Railick says:

    When you register to play this game will Nasa call you and ask you if you want to be in the space program (cause when I installed and registered for America’s Army I totally got like 10 recruitment calls and a dude even showed up to my freaking door!) When they saw that I was fat they left me alone ;P muwahaha

    Shadowcat “It hammers at my retinas like an evil woodpecker of pure energy”

  23. Premium User Badge

    Johnny Law says:

    I’m gonna take a pass on the MMO jokes for the moment and say that I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with. I can’t really say I’m “excited”, as odds are this will flop, but they have an opportunity here to make a uniquely interesting experience — whether or not it is actually very game-like. I just hope (in vain?) that they target a mature audience and spend their time trying to figure out how to make an involved moon-colonization-sim interesting, rather than trying to figure out how to paste a “space” facade on top of generic gameplay.

  24. ZomBuster says:

    Every player should have his own space agency and shoot their own rockets at the moon.

    Just imagine how awesome that would be.

  25. Premium User Badge

    Johnny Law says:

    Not a bad article: link to

  26. Railick says:

    No but if Nasa releases a game where you can walk on the moon but it looks like you’re in a studio bouncing around like an idiot in normal gravity it WILL make the foil hat guys go crazy saying “See see, they’re trying to tell us something!!”

  27. Jimbo says:


  28. Dave says:

    Awesome! The expansion pack “Astronaut to Mars” means you have to leave your PC running for 6 months while you fly over, making sure to perform all your daily routines.

    Also, if you run round the back of the moon base you’ll see that it is actually a set in the nevada desert somewhere AND NOT ON THE MOON AT ALL!

  29. Harbour Master says:

    You can’t have a game feature a “Moonbase Alpha” without the possibility of the Moon being blasted out of Earth’s orbit due to an accident at a lunar nuclear waste site. You just can’t. It’s a rule I just made up.

  30. WilPal says:

    This looks DREADFUL.
    I’m sorry, but someone had to say it.

  31. Badly Handled says:

    Whatever you do, don’t pile all the nuclear waste containers in the same area.

  32. DavidK says:

    Looks interesting. Reminds me a lot of Hyperkat’s Mars Colony Simulator, although MCS isn’t aiming to be an MMO (multiplayer, but not massively so).

  33. Railick says:

    On this Mars Colony Simulator website it says they are working on their 3rd version of the game, are the other 2 versions released already and playable? Looks very interesting. For some reason Seed comes to mind, sad that MMO failed :(

  34. destroy.all.monsters says:


    I feel better now that I’ve got that off my chest.

    • Rath says:

      Martin Landau came back to earth in order to gift us all the brilliance that is Juliet Landau.

  35. Fry says:

    You were expecting sound? On da moon?

  36. mycroft says:


  37. Rufust Firefly says:

    Wasn’t there already a Moonbase Alpha game?

    Oh wait, that was a base-building game from Humongous Entertainment years ago, I think. Lots of fun, as I recall.

    • Chaz says:

      There was an “Escape From Moonbase Alpha” game on the BBC many many years ago that was quite good.

  38. Hulk Hogan says:

    collected 0/10 moon rocks

  39. Chaz says:

    This looks good. I’ve kind of had an idea floating in my head for a space exploration MMO for some time, but more along the lines of 2001, with some cool sci fi stuff and alien oblisks. Anyway re this, do you get to travel the moon or are you just stuck in a big crater?

  40. Railick says:

    Are we totally sure there is no sound in space? Has anyone ever taken their space suit off and tried screaming to see if someone else without a space suit on could hear any thing ? :P There is space dust in the vast void between planets and there may even be a bit of dust floating in the air around the moon kicked up by the landing ect, I have no idea. Still like people have said before there may not be sound in space at all but there would be sound the player could hear inside his suit be it his own breathing, the crinkle of the suit as it moves, vibrations from his feet hitting the ground ect.

    • Vinraith says:

      The density of any particulate matter in space (even near a planet, where it’s unusually dense) simply isn’t high enough to allow a compression wave started in it to actually vibrate your eardrum and produce anything audible.

      However, you and others are entirely right that astronauts would hear something. In point of fact, since the space suit is, for obvious reasons, full of air, sound inside would be pretty normal. You’d hear the suit noises, your own breathing, cloth rustling etc.

  41. bigblackjesus says:

    I’m glad NASA is spending their time making a game about going into space rather then actually doing it.