Believe it or not, we've been coddled by super-cute and ultra-tough space-race simulator, Kerbal Space Program. Players who have a ring of dead Kerbals orbiting Kerbin, or who've left lonely craft to sink into the canyons of Eeloo because they forgot to add chutes, might beg to differ, but with upcoming update 0.22 more will be asked of you than ever before. No longer is it enough to just make it to orbit and beyond for the fun of space adventures. There will be science to be done when you're up there.
0.22 is the R&D update. Gathering data requires you to do experiments in space and report the findings back to Ear - er, Kerbin. It currently just involves getting a specific research tool to space, exposing it to the void, and letting it do its thing, but this is the first building block of career mode and I'd imagine future updates will complicate the issue. With the data gathered, you can beam it back to base or take the ship down and manually transfer it to the space base. The point of this is to increase the science payout for your mission. Science is kind of a currency that you spend in the new tech trees, allowing you to add new, experimental parts to your ships.
Shipbuilding is receiving a pretty major addition, enabling players to save sections of their builds. It means you can call up a pre-assembled chunk of parts and add it on to your ship without having to reconstruct it. Very handy.
It's a brilliant game. You should buy it.