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Kerbal Space Program Adds NASA Asteroid Redirect Mission to Game

Collaboration kicks off at SXSW Gaming with first reveal during a live panel on show floor

The Planet Kerbin has a new partner in the exploration of its solar system. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has joined forces with Kerbal Space Program to create Kerbal Space Program: Asteroid Redirect Mission, a special update that adds realistic NASA rocket parts and missions to the award-winning indie space agency sim game.

The mission shares the same name as the three-part mission which started in 2013 and is currently projected to be completed in 2022 with a manned mission onto an orbiting asteroid beyond the Moon. Kerbal Space Program and NASA will s hare the stage at SXSW Gaming on Saturday at 12:30 in the Palmer Events Center in Austin, Tex. The panel will offer the first look at the in-game mission as well as discuss the process of taking a real mission that is still highly conceptual and assembling it in Kerbal Space Program.

“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.”

The mission mirrors NASA’s real operation in many ways. Namely, players will tackle the same three steps as NASA:

  • 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  
“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.”

Nearly a dozen new parts, including the game’s biggest fuel tanks, will help players tackle what is the most ambitious NASA mission to date. Another new part is the robotic grappling device, which players will use to snare the rock and redirect it into orbit around the Mun, Kerbin or other planets. This new device can also grab things other than asteroids, making it one of the most versatile parts added to the game. These new parts will not only help the Asteroid Redirect Mission but will also offer both new and old players the chance to experiment more in the game’s open sandbox mode. 

 

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