Friday, July 09, 2010

Is NASA preparing a moon base?

Well, the question is valid - NASA, with the help of the team that created America's Army, has just released a free game on Steam, called Moonbase Alpha. Now, America's Army was a recruitment tool to get young people interested in joining the army... So, are we seeing the same thing here?

Now don't get too excited - the game shouldn't be hyped too much. After all, at the moment you only get one mission - to repair a few broken modules that lead from the solar panels to an oxygen-producing plant, and use a remote-control robot to repair the damage to said plant. You can choose to do it the real way (with a 25 minute limit, which is not always enough) or just elect to do it "freeplay" style.

What leads me to believe this may be a recruitment tool is also the fact that your score can be uploaded to an online leaderboard - potentially, NASA personnel could elect to look at it and contact the top players to offer them NASA training. Or, perhaps it's just to get people excited about being astronauts again... But what's the point of being an astronaut if all that's going on right now is the ISS? That's precisely where the setting on a moon base may be an insight on what NASA is planning in the near future.

Our moon's got plenty of potential, especially for research (see Wikipedia: Colonization of the Moon).

Speaking of Wikipedia, it seems that my idea is not so far fetched after all! NASA does, indeed, have the plan of having a moon base by 2019, which is very close in terms of time! The possible moon base rendering looks a lot like the game, too :P